Drivers can expect to find a block of College Street in Washington closed as work begins in earnest to reconstruct the road between Highland Avenue and East Maiden Street.
Work began last month with the closure of the left lane. The reconstruction is part of a two-phase Route 19 corridor project that began last year with the rebuilding of Lincoln Street. The remaining phase will begin later this year with the demolition of several buildings in the area of Highland and Ridge avenues and with the realigning of the College and Locust Avenue intersection.
Plans initially called for maintaining traffic flow on the right side of the street while work was being done in the left lane.
“But that wasn’t feasible to do,” said Scott Faieta, assistant construction engineer overseeing the project for the state Department of Transportation. “So we will do block closures as needed.”
Faieta said it was too difficult to keep the street open with the arms of heavy equipment swinging into traffic or over the sidewalk.
The closures for the most part will be from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Fridays will be used as a make-up day in the event of work stoppages earlier in the week resulting from inclement weather. The right lane will be open to traffic at night and on weekends. Work is now being done in the block between East Wheeling and East Maiden streets.
“The left side of the street should be done by mid-July, and then we will flip-flop to the right side,” Faieta said. “I expect the project to be done by the end of October.”
Some finishing work is continuing on Lincoln. Faieta said Verizon still has some work to do before a curb cut can be poured at East Beau Street and Lincoln. Some work also needs to be done at Lincoln and Wheeling. Faieta would like to see the work done before the May 16 commencement at Washington & Jefferson College.
Problems still exist with the timing of traffic signals on Lincoln. Traffic is sitting on the side streets waiting for a green light.
Faieta said all the signals will have to be reconfigured and tweaked when the project is concluded at Highland, Ridge and Locust avenues.
“But that won’t be done until the end of next year,” Faieta said.
Cherry trees will be ordered later this week to replace the trees removed for the project. The new trees will be planted after Oct. 15.