It’s been more than a year since construction began at the intersection of Markland Avenue and Washington Street. And, for now, it’s not clear how much longer it will last.
In May, a city official predicted the Markland Avenue reconstruction project, which stretches from Apperson Way to the thoroughfare’s intersection of Washington Street, would be complete by the end of July. That self-imposed deadline passed last week, with construction continuing on the roadway. It’s unclear when the project will be completed, now a year after it began, but city engineer Carey Stranahan said the project is about 90-percent complete.
Previously, Stranahan chalked up the delays to a myriad of issues relating to utility work, such trouble with replacing waterlines running along Markland Avenue. Additionally, he said, keeping the Washington Street and Markland Avenue intersection open for the duration of construction also slowed the process substantially. Another reconstruction project, centered on a portion of Lincoln Road, he pointed out, is nearly complete thanks to the road having been shut down during construction.
“Keeping traffic moving on it has been a big part of why it has taken so long,” said Stranahan. “If you compare the work that we have done there over the last year and three months and compare it to what we’ve done on Lincoln Road over the last four weeks, with Lincoln road we’re going to be putting sidewalk down on Lincoln road next week. But that road is shut down.“
The Markland Avenue reconstruction work is substantial. Not only is Markland Avenue undergoing a lane reduction, with the roadway being cut down from four lanes to three, but stoplights also are being removed at Union Street to create a two-way stop. Additionally, parking, new lighting fixtures, new curbs, trees, and sidewalk expansions are involved in the project.
Perhaps most notably, the city is working to reduce the jog at the Washington Street and Markland Avenue intersection.
The project originally was slated to be complete by the end of 2018. Despite the many delays, Stranahan said some signs indicate the work is closing in on completion, although he said he hasn’t received a schedule from the contractors detailing a potential end date.
“In the whole grand scheme of things, time-wise, we are probably 90-percent done,” said Stranahan. “Dollar-figure-wise, we are probably only 75-percent money wise, which is the same as work-wise. The last 10 percent of the time it takes to do the work, we’re going to do a lot of work, and most of that will be noticeable. But I can’t speak for the contractor as to how they’re going to get that done … There’s still a few uncomfortable days ahead of us to come.”
These uncomfortable days, he said, may entail the Markland Avenue and Washington Street intersection being completely shut down “for a day or two.”