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'Hairball' street reconstruction Downtown starts April 1

'Hairball' street reconstruction Downtown starts April 1


The “hairball” intersection in Downtown Madison should be a little less hairy to navigate later this year.

City engineering officials announced construction on the project at the confluence of Williamson, East Wilson and South Blount streets will begin April 1, with some utility work already starting on Monday. Construction is expected to be completed by Aug. 8.

The work includes replacement of curb, pavement, sanitary sewers and storm sewers, better bicycle facility improvements and replacement of the railroad crossing cutting through the intersection.

South Blount Street will be the most affected by construction, with only local traffic allowed to use the street for about a month of the more than four-month project.

Only one lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction on East Wilson and Williamson streets, which will cause traffic delays during peak traffic periods.

The construction zone on East Wilson Street runs from South Franklin Street to South Blair Street; the zone on Williamson Street runs from South Blair Street to South Blount Street; and the zone on South Blount Street runs from the Capital City Bike Path to Williamson Street.

Work is also planned along the bike path, which could result in closures and detours intermittently during the street construction period.

The railroad crossing work is scheduled for June 19 to 23, which will have a significant impact on traffic, since the track runs alongside John Nolen Drive and crosses East Wilson and South Blair streets.

A new traffic signal is going in at South Blount Street and Williamson Street to help with bicycle safety, and a new cycling track will be developed along Williamson Street and South Blount Street, with a separate sidewalk for pedestrians and marked, buffered bike lanes on East Wilson Street, all within the project’s boundaries.

The second part of the rebuild of the “hairball,” the work on Blair Street and John Nolen Drive, won’t come until 2021 or 2022, since the state Department of Transportation is thinking of additional work to be done on Blair Street.

Those improvements include left turn lanes on Blair Street and John Nolen Drive, relocated driveways at Machinery Row, and relocating the bike path around and through new driveway and parking lot layouts, the Engineering Division said.

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