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Months Of Backed-Up Traffic Have Ended In Bloomington

Last updated on Wednesday, December 26, 2012

(BLOOMINGTON) - Months of backed-up traffic have ended, almost.

The Herald Times reports that the $5.4 million project that closed lanes of South Walnut Street between First and Third streets for months is nearly completed, and looks to be coming in ahead of schedule and under budget.

The road opened for full use Thursday at noon, said Andrea Roberts, deputy director of the city of Bloomington's department of public works.

"We'll still have a few intermittent lane closures to finish sidewalk work, and those will be at the beginning of January," Roberts said. "The weather worked out nicely, and for the last six months they've pretty much been ahead of schedule."

Dave O'Mara Contractor, Inc., handled the project, which involved replacing a storm culvert that had been built before World War II.

Justin Wykoff, manager of engineering services for the city, said storm culverts collect and channel rainwater from the street. As part of the project, this culvert's channel was redirected so it would run along the street toward Smith Avenue instead of runninng beneath Player's Pub and other businesses.

The water and sanitary/sewer lines in that area were also replaced and the road was repaved with concrete instead of asphalt.

"Some people think concrete is more environmentally friendly because it doesn't use petroleum, though asphalt people will say something else, of course." Wykoff said. "But concrete will last about 20 years, and asphalt would have to be repaved every five years or so."

Besides the 100 feet of sidewalk that must be laid, the street still needs to be lined. It's down to two lanes and a bike lane now, from three before the construction.

"We're excited to be able to accommodate alternative forms of transportation, and hope pedestrians find it more agreeable to walking," Jacqueline Bauer, sustainability coordinator for the city, said. "There will be trees and different plantings to go along the street, to hopefully tie it in better with downtown. We're hoping the project will spur some more economic development in that area."

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