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Saturday, September 19 2009

The start of construction on the new downtown Evansville arena is going to mean the start of big traffic headaches in the surrounding area.
Now, we know what form those headaches will take.
Hafer Associates, one of the design firms on the project, discussed Tuesday at an Evansville Redevelopment Commission meeting what traffic patterns will have to change downtown to accommodate the arena construction.
The city will shutdown the southeast-bound lanes of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Walnut and Main once the building process gets under way.
"While we recognize that it is one of the most traveled arteries downtown, it is also adjacent to a construction site where a building several stories tall is going to be constructed," said Jeff Justice, with Hafer Associates. "So, we have to have room around that facility to accommodate all of the lifts and construction vehicles that are necessary to build the exterior envelope of the arena."
He said traffic will still flow both directions on MLK.
The change will just confine drivers to one lane each way on the currently northwest-bound side.
Crews will take out the median for fencing then replace the median when the project is done.
And, the closures don't stop there.
The arena will sit on top of what is now locust street between MLK and 6th.
So, that part of Locust will be gone for good.
There's 6th street, too.
The city will go a step further there than it will on MLK.
"There is a two-way street just to the river side of that, 5th St., so we felt like it was possible to be able to completely close 6th St. between Main St. and Walnut," Justice said.
The Evansville Philharmonic offices and the Victory Theatre sit at the corner of 6th and Main Sts.
The organization will feel the effects of this as much as anyone.
But, Executive Director Glenn Roberts isn't worried.
"We don't have any major concerns about it," he said. "It's going to be a little noisy for us as they do the construction. And, as far as, patrons coming to the philharmonic for concerts, we know that the traffic will be redirected, and patrons mostly come from the north. So, it's not really an issue for us."
The Signature School also sits in that area.
And, Justice said his firm and the city are working with the school to accommodate its unique concerns, like car pool pick up at the end of the day.
He said these closures will likely go into effect around the start of November and run through the completion of the arena.
Redevelopment Commission President Bob Goldman said the road closure discussion at the meeting was purely informative for his board.
It took no action on the matter.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 07:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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