Construction began on Tuesday for the for a portion of Lake Street that borders on Lake Michigan.
Residents are currently unable to access the street from Jackson Street, City Engineer Rob Vanden Noven said; instead, traffic is being detoured through for access to places such as north beach, the and Veteran's Memorial Park.
Vanden Noven said he suspects traffic will be able to enter from Jackson Street in about two weeks — pending sewer and utility work — at which point access from Upper Lake Park will be closed off.
Through traffic will not be allowed for the duration of the construction project, Vanden Noven said, as there won't "be room for any car to safely get through."
The plan enhances walkability and pedestrian safety, while also maintaining the amount of parking that is currently available, Vanden Noven said. Plus, it offers a new route for water drainage in order to avoid flooding — such as what happened in 2008, when the creek behind the lot overflowed, sending water into a nearby underground garage and flooding a number of vehicles to the point of a total loss.
Officials had hoped to see the project started in spring, but Vanden Noven said that was delayed due to budget constraints and We Energies needing more notice about utility work required for the project.
Vanden Noven said the project's finished deadline is Nov. 18.