In a race to avoid paving during the looming school year (1 week away! Where can I get 20 Ticonderoga pencils?!), the City of Decatur is planning to pave a bunch of the under-construction streets of downtown this week, including the city’s biggest street project of late, North McDonough.
Other streets due for the ol’ black asphalt makeover include the loop at Barry Street, N. Candler and E Howard (but not Pate Street! Gravel4life!) and the railroad intersections at N. McDonough and S.Candler. Say what you want about Decatur construction, that’s some serious paving coordination right there.
The Extreme Makeover website says that you should expect lane closures on North McDonough and the railroad intersections during the paving over the next 2-3 days, but two-way traffic will remain open. Access to Barry, N. Candler and E Howard will stilll be extremely limited, but what else is new. 🙂
Paving was supposed to begin yesterday, but I didn’t get this post up in time so they delayed it. Just kidding. They say it was due to rain or something.
Old N. McDonough construction photo courtesy of DM
Blame the continued inconvenience on whoever covertly installed underground utilities along N. McDonough and didn’t mark them!
From the Decatur Makeover website…
Our last two rounds of temporary closures on North McDonough both encountered unmarked underground utilities, delaying completion and requiring a third round to complete the work. Accordingly, North McDonough Street will again be closed overnight between Trinity Place and East Maple Street beginning Sunday, April 30, and continuing each night until our anticipated completion by the morning of Friday, May 5.
As before, each temporary closure will begin at 11:00pm and end the following morning at 6:00am. Assuming no further complications, everything’s expected to finally be completed with this round.
This work will ultimately result in a new storm drainage system as part of the North McDonough streetscape improvements.
It’s been a long time since the city got word back in 2010 that it won an LCI grant to improve ped/bike facilities along North McDonough. But that’s how it goes with Federal and State dollars. Deputy Mayor Hugh Saxon was always very clear that it would take many years to work thru the red tape to get this project started.
But enduring all that red tape has paid off! All and all, the city has managed to find fed and state money that will pay for a little of two-thirds of the total cost of the $5.5 million project. No small feat.
But there’s no time to sit and gloat about our grant writing skills! To work!
Work has just begun on transforming the old up-down speed zone into a more pedestrian and bike friendly avenue.
How friendly? The Decatur Extreme Makeover website states that improvements include “reducing North McDonough to 2 vehicle lanes, wider sidewalks, and a 2-way “cycle track” on the west side of the street, along with traditional streetscape improvements and on-street parking. The project will also feature “green infrastructure” improvements to improve storm water quality.” (We’ve reported all this before, but they just summed it up so nicely.)
The project will also work to improve pedestrian accessibility and safety at the dreaded train track crossing. Additionally for the gasoline-addicted 🙂 “New traffic signals allowing protected left turns on all legs of the 2 crossings are to be installed as well.”
The city promises that the project will be noisy and inconvenient and will take between 12-18 months. But heck if it won’t be a whole lot purdier when all is said and done!
Included in a report from Decaturish late last week – about the North McDonough Streetscape Improvements and how it relates to renovating Decatur High Schoo – was this nugget…
The streetscape project will begin in June of 2015 and will last for 12 months. The city will shrink the road from four lanes to two in order to make it friendlier for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Upon request, Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon provided DM with a digital version (PDF) of the most recent streetscape plan so that everyone can get a closer look what North McDonough will eventually look like once the project is completed.
Click the PDF link above or the photo to view the plans up close.