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Daily Sun photo/Ron Farmer Construction crews work on the installation of giant drainage culverts under Seventh Avenue Saturday, part of an 18-month long drainage project. The closure of the highway was expected to take until Monday morning, but traffic was expected to be flowing again with one lane in each direction on Saturday night.

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CORSICANA - While it was an inconvenience for some, the closing of State Highway 31 for installation of giant box culverts might take up less time than planned.

The roadway was closed at 8 p.m. Friday for what was planned to be a 60 hour construction period for the installation of the drainage culverts. However, by late Saturday night, traffic was expected to be flowing again, with one lane open in each direction through the construction area near 18th Street.

Original plans called for the road to remain closed until 6 a.m. Monday morning to allow for the TxDOT contractor, Lone Star Civil Construction, to install the giant culverts in one weekend — a move that is expected to shave about two weeks off of the 18 month project. The actual closure was expected to come in somewhat less than that with the early completion of the work expected. At press time Saturday, crews were awaiting the arrival of asphalt to create the two traffic lanes that will be open — one in each direction — through the construction area. Barring any problems, the roadway was expected to be open late Saturday night.

Detours set up to move “thru traffic” efficiently around the closure didn’t catch everyone. Several 18-wheelers who either didn’t see, or didn’t heed, the detour signs on Seventh Avenue near HEB and Wal-Mart that would have led them around the work. Some of the big rigs had to due “u-turns” in the highway, going through parking lots and bouncing off curbs to get turned around and back to the proper detour. Police also fielded several calls about large trucks making their way down some residential streets near the construction work.

The project involves digging out and creating a large drainage system running down the middle of the street and rebuilding the pavement from Main Street to 28th Street.

“What we’re doing is we’re rebuilding Highway 31 and putting in a new drainage system,” explained Darwin Myers, area engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in an earlier interview. “All the work the city has been doing is all in preparation for the road work. The first section is from 15th Street to 20th Street. As we do the job we’re going to do it in sections and complete whole sections so it’s not as disruptive to the businesses.”

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