17th and Washington road safety improvements begin
A big scale construction project on 17th and Washington street started this morning. It will continue through 4pm December 21st.
It will include a range of improvements including traffic control signs, sidewalks with handicap ramps, updates to parking lanes, and storm sewer work.
"We're not closing the road during construction, so we are keeping it open to vehicular traffic, so that vehicles can go by, still get to the grocery store, still get to all the conveniences that are down here." Senior Traffic Technician of Lincoln Transportation Utilities, Shane Dostal said.
During the two months period of work, local businesses feel uneasy that their curbside parking will be covered by construction.
"I have mixed feelings about the construction. I think the pedestrian crosswalk is a good thing, the flow of traffic will be moving along better, but it also kind of puts a damper on business to when they close our parking for the next two months," owner of The Violin Shop on 17th, David Frederick said.
They say they have seen this sort of disruption before, when the same stretch of 17th was closed entirely.
"We're not a walk by business, we're a destination business, and sometimes when people can't get to that business, it's really upsetting," Frederick said.
City officials say this project will also be one of several that is designed with pedestrian safety as the top priority. The major part to the project will be the barriers that extend out of the intersection to allow the crosswalk to connect more closely and alert drivers of pedestrians more easily.
"That tells drivers that there are pedestrians here and they're getting ready to cross the street. They don't have to stop, but they're required to yield. So, yes it will definitely enhance this intersection, the way I say it, back for the pedestrian's safety," Dostal said.