By Natalee Blanchat
Published: Monday, June 6, 2011
Starting in mid-July, construction will start on the Old Main-Wellborn Road Grade Separation Project. The $34 million project is to take place for more than 18 months and is scheduled for completion in January 2013. Plans include the addition of two vehicle and pedestrian passageways, and connecting main and west campus by abating a portion of Old Main Road. It will run beneath Wellborn Road and the Union Pacific Corp. railroad track.
Peter Lange, the executive director for the Division of Operation and Transportation Services, said the project is designed to alleviate the flow of transit that runs over the railroad tracks approximately 317 times daily. The project stems from the 2003 campus master plan.
"It will a be an easy way to get back and forth between the two areas by avoiding railroad tracks, traffic lights, and manage congestion," Lange said. "Right now it's really busy out there."
During the construction process Lange said Wellborn will not be completely shut down, but there will be a series of lane closures, bringing the current five lane road down to three lanes — one going in each direction, and a turn lane. One lane on Old Main Road will be closed throughout the duration of the project, specifically to facilitate pedestrian bike crossing.
"There will be some inconvenience, and I think the majority of campus is going to be acutely aware of construction out there, however, to separate the pedestrian and bike traffic from the rail road tracks is a huge benefit for the campus," Lange said. "Once we get to the other-side of the completion process, I can really see people walking from different areas to walk along the passageway. It will be such a nice walk, and something so nice that it will draw people to it."