Traffic on the westbound Beltline in the area of Verona Road moved to new lanes overnight Wednesday, bringing an end to a long stretch of lane shifts during the construction of a new bridge over Verona Road.
As drivers brace to switch gears one last time with new lanes on the westbound Beltline near Verona Road, Tom Dorn, owner of Dorn True Value Hardware, hopes the overnight switch will come with a bit of relief in the morning.
"I am guardedly optimistic because it's taken a long time to get to this point and it's going to take some time to get people to driving the site, driving the intersection again to come back to our business and other businesses in the mall," he said.
Dorn True Value Hardware on Midvale Boulevard has been surrounded by construction on all sides the entire summer.
Signs have helped lead people in the door, but road closures and detours have caused a 10 to 20 percent loss in business.
"The Beltline itself is opening up tonight but there is still some work to be done for access around the site, the corner, the turn lanes and that kind of thing," Dorn said. "I think people have been avoiding the area and the intersection because of the trouble and because of the intersection so it’s a step in the right direction."
One of the things that the Department of Transportation did to minimize the congestion is add another lane between Verona Road and Whitney Way
"We are hoping that those lanes will help with the congestion and we are also hoping to see improvements in safety on the corridor," said Chris Fredrick, WISDOT construction manager.
The traffic shift is scheduled for Wednesday night, but will be moved to Thursday night if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Periodic overnight slowdowns are expected for the rest of the week on the westbound Beltline between Todd Drive and Verona Road as crews to remove old sign bridge structure east of Seminole Highway.
The lane shifts have been in place since March.