Thursday, May 31, 2012 , Updated 9:46 a.m., June 6, 2012
UPDATED: Construction on Berry Street in Fort Worth could shut down intersection for much of the summer
Summer is pretty much the only good time to take such a measure.
City planners want to close the intersection of Berry Street and University Drive for much of this summer to fast track the redevelopment of Berry Street.
At Tuesday’s Fort Worth City Council meeting, council members are expected to choose between this proposal, or 10 months of construction that would include lane closures but not a complete shutdown.
If the council opts for the shutdown, construction is expected to begin June 11 and be completed by August 6, before fall classes resume at TCU or for students in Fort Worth schools.
Closing down the intersection would mean faster construction time, which would move the Berry Street project into its next phase quicker, city planners noted. Access to all businesses and residences will be maintained 24 hours a day during this period, said Chuck McLure, a senior engineering technician with the department of transportation and public works with the City of Fort Worth.
In suggesting the expedited option, officials with the city planning and development department noted that:
- The project would be finished before the fall semester begins for TCU and Fort Worth schools.
- Construction would be finished prior to the fall when special events, such as Big 12 sporting events, are expected to flood the area with traffic.
By comparison, 10 months of construction would mean significant congestion on roads that an estimated 35,000 vehicles use daily, according to planners. The approach would mean:
- Street parking on Berry Street would be banned so that two lanes of traffic in each direction could be kept open.
- During the first four months, University Drive would be narrowed to two southbound lanes and one northbound lane.
- The final six months would see University Drive down to one lane in each direction.
The work will take place from Waits Avenue to west of University Drive. This project will be funded by money administered to the city by the North Central Texas Council of Governments, McLure said. The final look will replicate the work done between Waits Avenue to Forest Park Boulevard for the Berry Street initiative, said Arty Wheaton-Rodriguez, senior planner for the Fort Worth Planning and Development Department.
“They’re trying to make it an urban living and business environment,” McLure said.
This will include narrowing of the streets, on-street parking, widened sidewalks, enhanced crosswalks and medians, roadway and pedestrian lighting, street furniture, street trees, and landscaping, McLure said.
“Road closure is a difficult one to ever recommend,” Wheaton-Rodriguez said. “In this case, we want to make sure that everyone’s informed on the reasons why and the benefits of it.”
There will be a meeting on May 31 for people to learn about the week-by-week plans for construction, Wheaton-Rodriguez said.
Before the meeting begins, there will be tables set up for citizens to ask and learn about the project, how construction will be handled, and detour routes. The meeting will be hosted at the University Christian Church on the 1st floor in the Fellowship Hall at 7 p.m.
- Public Meeting: May 31, 7 p.m., UCC first floor Fellowship Hall
- City Council Meeting: June 5, 7 p.m., City Council Chamber
UPDATE: City council approves Berry Street, University Drive closure
Starting Monday, June 11, drivers will need to find a new route between Berry Street and University Drive.
City council members voted a unanimous yes to the complete closure of the University Drive and Berry Street intersection for construction.
Signage warning drivers of the upcoming closures should be in place by Wednesday with the closure starting Monday, said city councilman Joel Burns.
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