Tuesday, April 06 2010
City officials are looking to widen part of Oak Hill Road, making it safer for both walkers and drivers.
But to do that, they need to close the stretch between U.S. 41 and Weinbach Avenue to most vehicles. Only local traffic will be able to go to businesses and homes there while the construction proceeds.
Betty Phillips, who lives on Lake Drive north of the affected section, said she finds Oak Hill Road an easy route to take from her house to the Lloyd Expressway. The coming construction will "be an inconvenience," she said.
"But I'll just find another way," Phillips said. "That's the way I go. But I could go straight on Weinbach to get to the Lloyd or on Boeke."
The official detour established by the city will direct drivers to U.S. 41 and Morgan Avenue.
Other parts of the same proposal will have Oak Hill Road closed to northbound traffic between Weinbach and Eichel avenues. Oak Hill will be reduced to single lanes conveying traffic in each direction in the stretch between Morgan Avenue and Pigeon Creek.
The Evansville Safety Board plans to vote on the proposed road closing when it meets at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Room 301 of the Civic Center. If the plan is approved, the closings will start immediately after the meeting.
Brad Mills, director of the Evansville Metropolitan Planning Organization, said the work will widen the affected parts of Oak Hill Road to three lanes from the existing two. One of the new lanes will be designated for turning. That change will prevent traffic from backing up behind drivers turning left.
The widening also will allow officials to add bicycle lanes and sidewalks. Mills said those changes are meant to give residents more opportunities for exercising outdoors. As a result, the city will have to rebuild sewers, curbs and gutters along the stretch.
The work is expected to last until the end of this year or early next year. It will cost about $6.9 million, nearly $400,000 of which is to come from the city. The federal government will provide the rest, both from stimulus money and transportation funds.
A second phase will make similar changes to Oak Hill Road between Pigeon Creek and Lynch Road. That construction is scheduled to start in 2012.
The project is similar to work done last year to make turning left on parts of Lincoln Avenue easier. Lincoln was widened between South Rotherwood Avenue and just west of South Green River Road, as well as between Martin Lane and Kirkwood Drive.