After dealing with the return of winter in the form of snow, wind and ice, contractors with the Old Woodward reconstruction project in downtown Birmingham report that 15 percent of the project is completed after four weeks of work.
Recent work included fiber optic conduit installation and sewer replacement.
Spring weather is on the horizon, with favorable weather upcoming. The intersection of Maple and Old Woodward was expected to be closed the weekend of April 21 and 22 for underground utility work.
Traffic signals have been removed at the intersections of Old Woodward and Maple and Old Woodward and Brown. Signs are in place urging drivers to watch for pedestrians at each intersection. Pedestrians are reminded to exercise caution when using crosswalks in or near the construction zone.
To provide easier access to stores and restaurants, there is free parking at all city parking structures on weekends. As well as valets at four different locations throughout the downtown, where the first two hours are free. Access is available to all stores in the downtown area.
In updates, the city of Birmingham is keeping residents, merchants and businesses updated about the comprehensive road reconstruction project, with regular updates available at bhamgov.org/downtowninfrastructure.
The reconstruction of Old Woodward is designed to transform the city’s downtown core with improvements to its aging underground infrastructure and significant enhancements to the above ground streetscape. The planned road project has shut down the center of downtown Birmingham along Old Woodward from Willits to Brown, and Maple to just past the store Allen Edmonds and part of E. Maple – but it is extremely necessary, officials say.
The road requires a complete reconstruction, similar to Pierce Street and Hamilton in previous years, in that these areas have some of the oldest water and sewer lines in Birmingham, as well as a streetscape that is on a different grade than the road. Much of this current infrastructure was installed in the 1940s and has exceeded its useful life – with some sewers dating to the late 1800s. The underground improvements include installation of a new water main, replacing the still functioning system that dates back to 1889. In addition, new sewer lines are being installed, as several are near the end of their service life. Other underground infrastructure improvements include installation of a city-owned electrical system that will allow for greater lighting options downtown, as well as provide for charging stations for mobile devices and installation of conduit for future fiber optic needs..
The above ground improvements will provide for an enhanced streetscape with wider sidewalks and handicap accessible curbs along with mid-block crosswalks, adding to the walkability of the downtown core. “We believe the necessary improvements to the underground infrastructure and above ground streetscape will create a new, up-to-date shopping and business environment that our residents, merchants and stakeholders will enjoy for years to come,” said Joe Valentine, Birmingham City Manager.