City begins work on railroad crossing improvements and North McDonough streetscape

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt September 20, 2016
The railroad crossing near Decatur High Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The railroad crossing near Decatur High Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The city is making progress on its plans to improve North McDonough Street and two railroad crossings. But first, there will be some pain for commuters.

The city announced that work has begun on both projects, with a budget of about $5.5 million, about two-thirds of it coming from federal grants. It’s expected to take 12 to 18 months, but construction timelines are always subject to change.

North McDonough will be reduced to two lanes and its sidewalks will be widened. The city will install a two-way “cycle track” on the west side of the street, “along with traditional streetscape improvements and on-street parking.” There will also be “green infrastructure improvements” to the storm water system.

The city will work to improve the railroad crossings at the intersections of College and Howard avenues with Candler and McDonough streets.

“The work provides gentler slopes on the north side of both crossings resulting in an accessible path for persons in wheelchairs as well as a safer route for pedestrians and bicyclists located outside the railroad crossing gates,” the press release from the city says. “New traffic signals allowing protected left turns on all legs of the two crossings are to be installed as well.”

The contractor, BRTU Construction of Forest Park, has started posting warning signs, looking for underground utilities and erecting barricades, the city says.

“Pedestrians will generally be limited to sidewalks on one side of the street,” the press release from the city says. “Vehicle traffic will be limited to two lanes and on-street parking will be eliminated for most of the project.”

The city’s press release adds, “This is a complicated construction project that promises to be messy, noisy and inconvenient. It will require patience. But the payoff will be an attractive pedestrian and bicycle-oriented main street that is safer and more environmentally sustainable.”

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