For nearly four years, resurfacing and reconstructing Monroe Street on Madison's West Side was discussed and delayed.
But for the street that has tens of thousands of vehicles travel on it each day, phase one of roadwork finally begins Monday.
Until mid-March, only one lane of eastbound traffic and one lane of westbound traffic will be maintained at all times between Chapman Street and Woodrow Street. The peak hour traffic lanes will be closed, which Madison Gas and Electric crews install underground gas lines.
Metro Transit, which uses Monroe Street for over 750 trips per week, will be maintained in both directions. Some bus stops will be relocated or closed at various times.
The sidewalk on one side of the street will be open at all times.
The second phase of construction, schedule from mid-March to mid-November, is more expansive, encompassing the entire street. One eastbound traffic lane will remain open from Odana Road, and one will also remain open from Nakoma Road.
The construction will impact many of the restaurants and shops on Monroe Street, like Simply Discs. The work, according to many, is long overdue.
"The road is in horrible condition,” co-owner of Simply Discs Angie Roloff said. “We certainly look forward to those improvements and a cleaner, prettier, safer street for everybody. So I think in the end, it's going to be great for Monroe Street and for Madison in general.
However, especially during the summer months, the roadwork will undoubtedly affect business. Staff at Simply Discs anticipates a major drop in the store’s bottom line. So, they’re doing things a little differently in 2018.
"We certainly have tweaked our business plan for this year in how we approach day-to-day operations,” Roloff explained. “We'll be popping up around town, we're offering delivery, and also just communicating with our customers on how they can get to us, where they can park."
Roloff said they are counting on local support during the construction.
“I think when they understand that Monroe Street is going to need their help this year, that they will answer that call, Roloff said. “And they'll think about coming here for supper or a record or CD, maybe before going someplace else."
The project is scheduled to take 10 months to complete, and cost the city over $20,000,000.
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