City officials are encouraging drivers to avoid St. Joseph Center Road between St. Joe and Reed roads now that construction is underway to reconstruct and widen the roadway.
The project was implemented to improve the traffic pattern at the intersection of St. Joseph Center and St. Joe roads with the addition of turn lanes for eastbound traffic on St. Joseph Center Road.
The marked detour uses St. Joe and Evard roads around this construction zone. City officials will announce when lane restrictions at the intersection of St. Joe and St. Joseph Center roads will start. They will continue to provide road-closure and lane-restriction notices throughout the project.
When complete next year, St. Joseph Center Road will have two lanes in each direction between Reed and St. Joe roads. The project also adds an additional left-turn lane, a second through lane and a new right-turn lane for eastbound St. Joseph Center Road at the St. Joe Road intersection. Other planned improvements include sidewalks on both sides of the road, curbs and gutters, street lighting and pavement markings.
All existing intersections on St. Joseph Center Road will remain. No additional traffic signals will be installed as part of this project.
Crews are currently working to relocate utility lines and clear the rights of way for construction throughout the summer.
The first lane redirection will be the St. Joseph Center and St. Joe intersection, where traffic will shift south. The north lane will close, and all westbound traffic will temporarily be directed to use the current eastbound left-turn lane during storm sewer work. The north lane closure will last three to four weeks.
This spring, construction crews will add a temporary asphalt lane on the south side of the roadway. Over the summer, crews will reconstruct two new permanent lanes on the north side of St. Joseph Center Road, while eastbound and westbound traffic uses the current and temporary south lanes.
Next year, the work will reverse. Motorists will use the north two lanes, while the two eastbound lanes on the south side of the road are reconstructed.
The City's contractor, Primco Inc., has been working on the project since approximately the first of this year. Their crews have been clearing the right of way, relocating a water main to accommodate the wider road and installing a large storm sewer for greatly improved drainage.
The $7.4 million project is expected to be complete in August 2009. Federal dollars account for 80 percent of the improvements' cost.