The traffic is still congested and the roadway is still a major construction zone, but the Eby Creek Road project hit a milestone this week with a traffic lane switch.
“We have completed the pavement on the side of the road people are driving on now,” said Eagle Town Engineer Tom Gosiorowski. “Its a pretty big hallmark of the work to be completed.”
Commuters greeted the change on Monday. For the first time, the bones of a roundabout at Eby Creek Road and Chambers Avenue — the single busiest interesting in town — are becoming visible.
“We will have a functioning roundabout at Chambers Avenue by October. Of course it won’t be completely done at that point, but it will be functioning. That’s going to be a great time and traffic will get better instantly,” said Gosiorowski.
With concrete laid on the west side of the roadway between Chambers and U.S Highway 6, crews will now repeat their efforts on the east side of the street. Like the part of the project now completed, the roadway will be raised approximately 30 inches.
“That doesn’t seem like a lot, but now that we are driving on the road bed, you notice you are a lot higher up,” said Gosiorowski.
Like the west side of the street, the work ahead will include construction of retaining walls. “The new walls won’t be quite as long, but there will be two of them to accommodate the path on that side of the road,” said Gosiorowski.
Changes on US6
Branching beyond the Eby Creek Road work, crews have been busy along U.S. Highway 6 installing new underground water lines, building retaining walls and preping the roadway. Gosiorowski noted motorists can see the outline of the new sidewalk that will cross the areas. “It will be a much nicer place to walk,” he said.
While the exisiting US6 roundabout has been only minimally impacted by construction so far, Gosiorowski warned that will not be the case for long. That roundabout is slated for a major overhaul as part of the overall project.
Likewise there has been only mimimal work to date at the Market Street roundabout, but Gosiorowski said a new crew is slated to arrive next week to tackle that part of the construction.
Also on tap in the near future is a robust nighttime construction schedule to deal with installation of new underground wastewater lines.
One of the signature improvements for the Eby Creek project is a new pedestrian bridge over Interstate 70. The bridge piers have been built and the steel structure is schedule for shipping in August. When the bridge goes up, it will be a nighttime project because it will necessitate shutting down I-70.
While there is still a lot of work to tackle on the overall project, Gosiorowski said the 2014 completion plan is still in tact.
“That’s our primary objective every day. Nobody is at all interested in having another season of construction,” he said.
That statement holds true for construction workers and motorists alike. Gosiorowski noted that as construction stretches on, nerves are wearing thin.
“We realize that the Eby Creek Road construction is an inconvenience and can impact people’s lives as they are trying to get to work or someplace else in in a timely manner,” Gosiorowski said. “But we really appeal to everyone to be patient and drive carefully and considerately through the construction zone.”