While there was some frustration last week with all of the lane reconfigurations getting established in the downtown, and then the storm hitting right after set-up so that no work could proceed (you will probably see some drums replacing the cones and candlesticks that were blown away or run over), the project is getting back on course this week and ramping up. The old intersection traffic signals are coming down and the temporaries are switching on. This critical preparation piece has been slowing the pace of project construction as a necessary step that must precede the drainage and sidewalk work on Pacific Avenue.
Specifically, tomorrow at 8am they are going to turn on the signal at 3rd and Pacific, then do the signal at 1st and Main starting at 7pm tomorrow night. They will have 6 flaggers set up for that signal and striping change tomorrow night.
The next lane reconfigurations will be converting 101 immediately north of the Hoquarton into one lane each direction, going into effect tomorrow, the sawcutting and sidewalk removal work along the westside of Pacific Avenue between 4th and 3rd should also start on Thursday. This work will continue for about a month before moving north to the block between 3rd and 2nd.
After that second block of work concludes, roughly another month later, the reconstruction of 2nd Street between Main and Pacific into a pedestrian plaza should begin. While projected to consume approximately three months by itself, this construction element will be used as a staging area for equipment and materials inventory that supports the sidewalk work on Pacific. Therefore, the full closure of this street may continue to the end of May.
In order to help alleviate some of the impacts on the businesses downtown, the City Council adopted the Temporary Parking Plan this past Monday night. It has opened up some of the nearby reserved parking areas to the public and placed additional loading areas around the downtown so that businesses can get their deliveries as needed. We encourage all of you, and your friends and neighbors, to go out of your way to patronize those downtown businesses for the next two construction years so that they can remain viable.
Many people have also expressed concerns about the removal of trees along Pacific. Again, this is preparatory to all of the sidewalk reconstruction that is about to take place and there is a full plan for replanting the entire affected avenue once that work is completed. Once established, these replantings will present a coordinated well-colored corridor as you head north through town.
On a side note, a non-highway sewerline project that has just started on the west end of town may also have some traffic impacts in the next month or two as it works its way up Cedar to First Street and ends at the intersection with Stillwell. As an open cut trench near the middle of a truck route, there will likely be some delays and rerouting involved. As traffic control plans are developed and released, we will keep you posted.