Another entryway into Greenwood is set to be improved with a repaved surface, new medians and trails in a proposed $3.8 million project.
Emerson Avenue is a key entry into Greenwood on the east side of the city. About 20,000 vehicles pass through the County Line Road and Emerson Avenue intersection each day. City officials want to improve the look of one of the primary northern entrances into the city, along with other entries into the city along Madison Avenue and Main Street.
Like Madison Avenue, Emerson Avenue has a center turn line dividing north- and south-bound traffic on most of the route from Main Street to County Line Road. The feature is one city officials describe an artifact from another era of road design, and redesigning it is a key part of the project.
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In many areas, that extra turn lane is unnecessary, Greenwood Capital Projects Manager Kevin Steinmetz said.
“If we were to design it today, this isn’t how we would do it,” he said.
Instead, the plan is for the center of the street to have a grass median or a raised concrete median with decorative plants where possible, Steinmetz said.
“It doesn’t need that never-ending turn lane” he said. “This will ease the harshness of it, while not sacrificing its ability to move traffic.”
The Greenwood Redevelopment Commission is considering funding repairs and changes to Emerson Avenue, from Main Street to County Line Road. The board has also been considering similar plans for Main Street, from Smith Valley Road to County Line Road, and a section of Madison Avenue from Pearl Street to Noble Street. The full reconstruction of Madison Avenue is expected to cost $12.5 million.
The work planned for the 1.5-mile stretch of Emerson Avenue isn’t as extensive as the Madison Avenue plans, but does include a full resurfacing of the street, replacing the center turn lane with grass and concrete medians, new signals at three intersections, decorative street lighting and a 10-foot trail on the west side of the road.
Currently, the about 8-foot-wide sidewalks are next to the street, which isn’t an ideal situation for pedestrians or bicyclists, Steinmetz said.
The plan is to either move the sidewalk away from the road, separated by at least a couple feet of grass, or widen the sidewalk to make pedestrians feel safer, he said.
“You want a buffer between the sidewalk and the road in some places so folks feel more comfortable walking a dog or riding a bike,” Steinmetz said.
Three intersections with traffic lights hanging on span wire will also be replaced with standard lights mounted on poles, he said.
The redevelopment commission, which spends funds collected by the city’s tax-increment financing, or TIF, districts, doesn’t typically get involved with road resurfacing project, but is being asked to this time because of the significant changes being proposed to the road in addition to the mill and overlay work, Steinmetz said.
The city believes upgrading the route also will help in attracting higher quality commercial businesses along that stretch of Emerson Avenue, such as medical or office space, Greenwood City Attorney Krista Taggart said.
The redevelopment commission is considering paying Rundell Ernstberger $337,000 to complete the designs. If the city decides to move forward with the project, work will cost about $3.5 million. A vote on the project is set for the board’s August meeting.
Plans would take about six months to create. If the project is approved, work would likely take place in the summer of 2018, Steinmetz said. The street is due for repairs, having last been repaved in 2000, he said. The city’s 2016 street survey rated that section of Emerson Avenue as being a five on a 10-point scale.
Greenwood is considering improvements to a section of Emerson Avenue to make it a gateway into the city. Here’s a look at the details of the project:
Where: Emerson Avenue from Main Street to County Line Road
What: A full resurfacing of the street, replacing the center turn lane with grass and concrete medians, new signals at three intersections, decorative street lighting and a 10-foot trail on the west side of the road
Cost: $3.8 million, including designs
When: If approved, work could begin next summer