Construction on a portion of State Street in Eau Claire is in full swing with the road closed from Bartlett Court to the north side of Hamilton avenue. First News at Nine’s Carla Rogner has more on the latest updates to the project.
Lauren Becker, UW Eau Claire student: “We definitely want to make sure we are looking at safety first that is always going to be our main concern.”
With such a large construction project comes lots of opinions from community members.
Deputy City Engineer, Leah Ness says the city is looking for thoughts on how to handle right turns at State Street and Roosevelt in particular.
“One way is to use a physical sign you could have it be static or an active sign that would go black like a blackout sign and state no left turns during certain times of the day or an alternative is to restrict left turns by placing an island on Roosevelt.”
Ness says Thursday’s open house was helpful to get feedback on the designs.
Dan Motzing, “I favor restrictions during certain times just because there are times when there are no pedestrians”
The project includes roundabouts at three intersections on State Street.
“Roundabouts are a safer form of intersection reduce collision points and can handle more traffic because of the continuous flow.” Ness says the intersections will eventually be closed one at a time, but the city has adapted well to using the detours. “Traffic is kind of flowing out and finding alternative routes and we are still getting calls and trying to address them.”
While construction can be frustrating for everyone it also offers challenges to emergency services like Fire Station #5 which sits at the edge of the construction site.
“We will use alternate routes to respond to any emergencies.” However, Deputy Fire Chief, Allyn Bertrang says the station is prepared to handle the construction. “Our firefighters know the streets of Eau Claire very well and study them on a regular basis. We find alternate routes and we respond accordingly.”
Ness says when the project is complete community members can look forward to buffered bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and safer crosswalks.
“I think the citizens are understanding that we’re trying to come to a common ground. Not everyone will get exactly what they wanted but we are going to make it as safe as possible.”
The final design for the project will be voted on at a public hearing at 7pm on July 8th in front of city council. People can still share ideas with the engineering department or city council until then.