(Diane L. Wilson)
The project, which will widen Broadway by 12 feet and add turn lanes at its intersection with Clark Avenue, will take place in two phases.
During the first phase, the portion of the road will be closed to all traffic. A detour will take eastbound motorists around Capaha Park using Cecilia Street. Westbound motorists will take a detour leading down West End Boulevard to Independence Street and back over to Broadway.
The closure will affect few businesses, but will alter the routes of ambulances trying to access the emergency entrance to Southeast Missouri Hospital. To avoid confusion, lighted billboards will be placed to direct westbound emergency vehicles on an alternate route taking them along Lacey Street and through a hospital parking lot.
City engineer Jay Stencel said the shutdown was ultimately the best option.
"We explored shutting down the whole section and just saw a lot of negative impact to businesses along with that," he said.
"This is actually going to allow us to complete this section in one-third of the time it would take otherwise."
Stencel also said it makes the project more attractive to contractors bidding to do the work.
"Contractors would much rather bid a job where they don't have to worry about stepping back one foot and getting hit by oncoming traffic," Stencel said.
Bids on the project will be accepted by city hall beginning next week.
The second phase of the project will last 90 days and will widen Broadway from West End Boulevard to Houck Place. It will also add the new left-turn only lanes at Clark Street.
Two-way traffic will stay open during this phase.
AT&T is currently moving phone lines along Broadway near Capaha Park in anticipation of the widening project. That work should be done by the end of the year, Stencel said.
335-6611, extension 245