Necessary road rebuilding project creates traffic headache

Residents, business owners see long-term benefits of project
Necessary road rebuilding project creates traffic headache
Construction on East Johnson Street

Cars and trucks trying to weave through 7,000 feet of traffic cones and heavy construction is not a match made in heaven. It is a necessary reality, however, for a road rebuilding project that will continue for another four months on East Johnson Street.

The $11 million project is replacing water, sewer and storm sewer lines along East Johnson Street. When completed, it will also provide new curbs, gutters and sidewalks for the neighborhood. The project was deemed necessary because of aging infrastructure.

“It needed to be done. A lot of the infrastructure is very old. I know the water main, I believe they said the records go back in the water department to like 1880,” said Wade Huston, owner of R.G. Huston, the company handling the construction project.

Reducing traffic down to one lane and limiting access to some side streets has dramatically slowed traffic driving through the area. But crews are working 12-hour shifts and six days a week in an effort to meet the Nov. 1 project completion date.

“Driveways are impacted, general traffic is impacted. Just the way everything is situated, it is tough to do it any other way,” Huston said.

While the project has created some traffic nightmares for the area, many residents and business owners recognize benefits they will see with the completion.

“Long-term impact will be positive. You know, undergrounding of the utilities is going to improve the aesthetics of the street a great deal, I think,” said Nevin Franke, owner of Burnie’s Rock Shop.