It’s time to get on a diet. The long-anticipated and often-fretted-over Government Street redesign, or “road diet,” that began in late January is now in its peak summertime construction blitz. Crews are blocking off lanes to tear up the asphalt and rebuild sidewalks, orange traffic cones are everywhere, planners are readying for a massive roundabout—and it’s all just getting started.
The 4.2-mile project will trim much of the four lanes down to two with a turning lane in the center, occasionally buffered by raised medians, and bike lanes on either side. It’s intended to slow traffic on one of the more dangerous streets in town and make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists in a neighborhood known for its shops, restaurants, frequent art hops and festivals.
“This is one of the more unique projects we’ve been involved in,” says state Department of Transportation and Development spokesman Rodney Mallett. “The reviews have been pretty mixed, but you can just look at all the investments in the area to see that people are excited about it.”
Because it’s a state road, DOTD handles initial construction. Once complete, it will be handed over to the city for continued maintenance. DOTD’s Anna Hanks, who is managing this project, says work should take anywhere from 18 to 24 months. That means it likely won’t be finished until the end of 2019.
Here’s a reminder of all the changes underway and a glimpse at what it will look like once complete.
This article was originally published in the July 2018 issue of 225 Magazine.