Residents along 29th Avenue from Grand Boulevard to Bernard Street woke up to find road closure signs outside their houses Wednesday morning.
The city began a construction project at 6 a.m. to install a new 12-inch water main and repaint bike lane lines on the street. The work will be divided into two phases that will keep portions of 29th between Grand and High Drive closed until early to mid-November.
The first phase, from Grand to Bernard, is set to wrap up in mid-August, city spokeswoman Ann Deasy said. Near the end of that part of the project, crews will shut down the intersection at Bernard and 29th for three weeks to work on traffic signals.
Then, construction will move west on 29th to the section between Bernard and High Drive, which will stay closed until the project ends this fall.
“They’re trying to limit the traffic impact,” Deasy said.
The $2.7 million project gets its funding from the water department and a voter-approved street bond issue.
Those who live on the closed portions of 29th recently received letters from the city warning them about the project. But some say it’s still unclear how much access they will have and how they will get around the closure.
Davis Creekmore said he and two of his roommates usually get around town on a bus that they catch across the street from their house on 29th. Now they will have to walk an extra block and a half up Grand to catch a ride.
Creekmore hopes the city will provide more information soon.
“You think they’d say something to us or anybody around here,” he said. “We were talking to a couple people across the street and they don’t have any idea of what to do either.”
Others, like Cheryl Winship, are concerned about where they will be able to park their cars.
“This is our only way in and out,” Winship said. “Where are we going to park our car, in someone else’s way?”
Deasy said that those who live on the street will be granted access to their driveways. However, they will not be able to get their vehicles in and out when workers are painting or tearing up the street directly in front of their driveways. Deasy wasn’t sure how long a resident might have to wait in that situation.
“Depending on how the water line goes, it may be fast or it may be slow,” she said.
Despite the closure, Postal Service workers will still be able to deliver mail on 29th and residents have been directed to continue putting their garbage out as usual.
Other delivery services may need to coordinate with the city or the construction crew to gain access. Anyone who relies on deliveries for medical needs should coordinate with Deasy. She can be reached at (509) 625-6318.