The roundabout intersection at Main Street and Independence Drive is expected to be complete by the beginning of the school year, but record-breaking heat has slowed work, officials said.
City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said he anticipates the work to be finished before the start of school in the Union R-XI School District Tuesday, Aug. 21.
“They will be finishing all concrete work by next week,” he said. “It appears that the work will be completed and the roundabout open prior to the beginning of school.”
Work began at the intersection at the end of May.
“The hotter it is, the less production there is,” Zimmermann said. “The heat has probably slowed it a little bit, but I don’t think there has been one day that they didn’t work.”
He noted that following the concrete work, crews will put up signs and then make the asphalt connections between the roadway and the roundabout surface.
“Once all is done, it will be an attractive feature for the community,” Zimmermann said.
Earlier in the week there was a motorist who drove through the work zone during the night and left a mark on the stamped concrete.
“I understand people want to see it, but it’s a construction zone — it’s not safe for people to walk through or to drive through,” Zimmermann said.
At roundabouts, vehicles travel counterclockwise around a raised center island, with entering traffic yielding the right of way to circulating traffic. Once there is a gap in traffic, drivers enter the circle and proceed to their exit. If there is no traffic in the roundabout they enter without yielding.
The traffic light will be removed from the intersection to provide a more continuous flow of traffic, Zimmermann said.
He added that following the intersection work, the State Street and Independence Drive intersection will be permanently closed. There will be a cul-de-sac installed on the west end of State Street, he noted.
The Main Street project is funded through the Surface Transportation Program (STP) and is an 80-20 cost-share, including a 20 percent local match and 80 percent federal match.
The scope includes a 2-inch asphalt overlay, concrete base repairs, new sidewalks and signs.
In 2007, the East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWGW) approved the Main Street improvements as part of its Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The annual TIP outlines state, county and municipal transportation-related projects authorized for federal funding through EWGW.
The city also will receive separate federal funds for a downtown “enhancement” project.
Those plans call for “bump outs” to be installed at intersections between Washington Avenue and Linden. Bump outs are extended sidewalk and curb areas intended to provide drivers with a better line of sight for oncoming traffic.
Settled and cracked sidewalks will be replaced. There also will be stamped crosswalks, planters, benches and seating areas along the existing historic courthouse.