The repaving of the main thoroughfare through Columbus Park Crossing is expected to be mostly completed before the holiday shopping season begins, said the city’s top engineer. But if not, there’s a plan.
“The goal is to have it finished within two months,” said Donna Newman, Columbus’ director of engineering. “But we are going to stop the project no later than Nov. 15. If it’s not complete, then we will delay it until after the holidays. We don’t want to disrupt all of the holiday shopping traffic out there.”
Columbus Park Crossing, located at the intersection of Veterans Parkway and J.R. Allen Parkway, is one of the most popular shopping and dining areas in the city. It also has two apartment complexes situated inside it.
Whittlesey Boulevard, which cuts through the heart of the development, is the 1.7-mile stretch that is being repaved by the city at a price tag of up to $1.3 million, Newman said.
The repaving began Monday where Weems Road connects to Whittlesey and will proceed northeast to Moon Road. Crews with Southern Asphalt, a company based in the Fortson area of Columbus, are expected to work during the day, she said, starting between 7 and 8 a.m. and wrapping up between 4 and 5 p.m.
“Because of the amount of traffic in the evenings, with people going to dinner out there and that sort of thing, we’re going to try to do it during daytime hours,” Newman said.
But that could change, she said, if the paving company runs into any problems. For instance, portions of the road will need to be milled, or ground down, for repairs before asphalt is laid down.
Whittlesey is only eight years old, with the road being built as the shopping center was preparing to open. A combination of heavy traffic by the general public, large delivery vehicles and construction trucks used as the center was being built out have contributed to its early decline, Newman said. The normal lifespan for a street in such an area is 10 to 15 years, she said.
“The problem with the road is once it deteriorates to a certain point, if you don’t go ahead and repair it, then you get into a complete failure and have to reconstruct the road,” the engineer said. “It ends up costing you more than to repair. And we were getting to that point.”
Newman said motorists in the area should exercise patience and use caution, realizing lane closures and delays will be likely for the next six weeks.
“But we’re not expecting a major traffic problem,” she said.
Adams Farm Drive, which connects Veterans Parkway and Whittlesey Road, appears to be in good shape and is not being repaved at this time, she said.