Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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February 27, 2013

Highway 31 project forges ahead

Corsicana — Easy weather is helping construction crews make up a little time on the project to improve drainage on West Seventh Avenue, or Highway 31, through Corsicana.

After the first section, between 15th and 20th, took longer than anticipated, the state authorized combining the next two phases. Now, the work extends from 20th to 28th.

“That lets them work on both sections at once, having more room to stretch out and work,” said Area Engineer Darwin Myers. “That took a lot of coordination with the business owners for access.”

Still problematic are the limited traffic flows at 20th and 24th, which are down to one lane south of Seventh Avenue, but the problems peak during Corsicana’s occasional rush hours.

“There are certain times of the day and week, Friday afternoon, for example, that it may back up several blocks, but we’ve adjusted the signal timing to help traffic flow through town as much as we can,” Myers said. “But when someone stops to make a left, it compounds it.”

The state-sponsored project to improve drainage and resurface the highway as it goes through town began in July 2011, and was anticipated as a two-year project, but delays have pushed back that end date.

Even after the completion of the western phases, the state will still need to come back east and complete two more phases. Those phases are Main Street to 13th Street, and 13th Street to 15th Street.

The trickiest part may be the intersection of Seventh Avenue and 15th Street, certainly one of the busiest intersections in the city.

“Traffic is going to be very squeezed and confined in there,” Myers said. “The lanes won’t be any narrower, but the turns will be very tight in all four directions. We’ll have to do it a quadrant at a time, so there will be a lot of traffic switches and shifting of traffic to do each quadrant.”

Myers anticipated that portion of the project could happen in the spring of 2014.

“We’re still behind and we don’t know if we’ll make up all the time, but there’s that opportunity since we combined those phases,” Myers said. “Progress on the project seems to be picking up since we combined those phases.”

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

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