The City of Auburn Public Works Department is planning yet another infrastructure improvement project for the city. The department plans to begin a major project in January 2017 to improve aesthetics and traffic flow along South College Street between Roosevelt Avenue and Garden Drive.
Nearly 2,000 feet of South College Street will see major upgrades as part of the project, as well as portions of Samford Avenue and Gay Street.
“We have two lanes of traffic headed southbound, but one drops into a left-turn lane,” said Auburn Public Works Director Jeffery Ramsey. “So really you only get effective use of just one lane. So we’re going to add another lane for left-turn movement.”
Ramsey said the upgrades in the project will include widening South College Street with an additional lane of through traffic. Once the project is completed, there will be two lanes of through traffic, as well as the left- and right-turn lanes.
There will be improvements for those who often get stuck in the mornings headed northbound along South College Street as well.
“We’re going to add a right-turn lane on College Street as you turn onto Samford [Avenue], right there by the parking lot right across from the President’s Mansion,” Ramsey said.
After improvements to the northbound lanes of the street are completed, there will be two through lanes, as well as a left- and right-turn lane onto Samford Avenue.
The department will also add sidewalks to improve access from downtown to the Donald E. Davis Arboretum and the President’s Mansion.
The nearly 1,000-foot-long sidewalk will be close to 8 feet wide.
Pedestrian street lights will be added to improve visibility and safety, Ramsey said.
The main purpose of the project is to improve traffic flow, but Ramsey said his department will also take the opportunity to improve the aesthetics of the area.
New decorative traffic-signal poles will replace existing poles at both the South College Street and Samford Avenue and the South Gay Street and East Samford Avenue intersections.
A median will also be added along the stretch of South College Street between Samford and Roosevelt avenues. The median will serve as a midway refuge for crosswalks between the University’s campus and the Heart of Auburn retail center, home to BurgerFi and CVS Pharmacy.
“We’re putting in a mid-walk crosswalk there so that people can actually cross to the median, have a safe refuge and then cross on over,” Ramsey said.
Funding for the project will be split between the city’s budget and funds provided by the federal government through the Metropolitan Planning Organization.
“It’s an 80–20 [percent] split between the funding from the federal government and the city,” Ramsey said. “It will be kind of a shared funding [project].”
Construction is expected to take six months. Ramsey said commuters should expect some detours.
“We really have to wait until after football season,” Ramsey said. “By [starting in January], we should have it finished up before the following football season.”