It won't be without inconvenience, but city and Texas Department of Transportation officials hope the phased downtown streetscape project will cause minimal disruption to vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
An informational meeting took place Thursday morning at the Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce. The project could begin as early as next week.
"I have been pretty impressed with how TxDOT has planned the construction," said City Manager Randy Criswell.
TxDOT inspector James Scoggin will oversee the five-month construction project spanning three blocks along U.S. Highway 281 that will include enlarged pedestrian corners with ADA-compliant ramps, decorative crosswalks, stamped street designs and landscaping at the Hubbard and First streets intersections.
"I think they have given a lot of consideration to the inconvenience, and it is going to be there," Scoggin said of the construction plan. "It's a main thoroughfare through town. There is going to be some heartache."
He said when the contractor – Cleveland, Texas-based Encino Landscape Inc. – is ready to begin barricades and signage will go up.
"We are partnering with the city," Scoggin said. "It is going to improve your corridor."
He said the project at some point will affect everyone within the work zone – but it won't affect everyone at the same time. Staged construction is scheduled to take place within three main phases. One phase will be completed before the next phase begins. It will begin at N.E. 1st Street and work its way south.
The work will generally take place weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to avoid high-peak traffic times. Some night work will take place between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Any weekend work will be as needed.
"Some storefronts will be affected," said Scoggin. "We can't guarantee you it won't affect your business. Measures will be in place to keep pedestrians safe. We will try to keep the noise and the dust to a minimum."
He said there will be some traffic detours and lane reductions but at all times traffic will flow through the project. He said sidewalks will remain open at all times.
"We would like for this to go as smooth for everybody as possible," Scoggin said.
He asked if anyone sees something they feel is a concern related to traffic or pedestrian safety to call the city and report it.
"If it's a hazard for the driving public it will be addressed immediately," he said.
Scoggin said they believe they have addressed all possible concerns, including making sure emergency vehicles at the nearby downtown fire station will be able to navigate through the construction zone. Large permitted commercial loads may be rerouted at times to avoid the area.
"There are a lot of moving components once we get going," Scoggin said.
Once complete, the city will be responsible for landscape maintenance and care. Also, some street parking spots will be lost near the main intersections because of the redesigned corners.
Motorists are invited to use drivetexas.org to check on the location and status of construction on state-maintained roadways.
The project cost is estimated to cost $681,555, with $400,000 coming from federal highway funding sources and $224,055 in state funds. City council approved a local participating match of $57,500 for engineering services, paid with downtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 2 funds.