Photo by Heather Middleton
By Curt Yeomans
The end is seemingly in sight for construction on the first phase of Jonesboro's Streetscape project, the city's Mayor, Luther Maddox, said on Thursday.
The mayor said crews are approximately two weeks away from finishing the project, which cuts through the heart of Jonesboro's downtown area, on Main Street and North McDonough Street.
The project has brought about some changes to the look of the city's downtown area, with the new brick sidewalks, new lamp posts, several new brick-lined planters, pillars welcoming people to the area, and parallel parking spaces, replacing of the angled parking spaces in front of lawyer's offices and the Arts Clayton Gallery.
"I think it looks great," Maddox said. "It has made a difference in the appearance of the downtown area."
The final stretch for Streetscape construction will not come without a few headaches for drivers, however. Maddox said the last thing that has to be done on the project is to install new brick crosswalks at several intersections on Main Street, and North McDonough Street. That work has already begun, and it is resulting in some temporary road closures. The mayor said more closures will come as the crosswalks are installed.
Drivers who travel down both streets can see where sites for crosswalks have already been marked off at Spring, Smith, Mill, Church and College Streets. At each intersection, there will be crosswalks cutting across the side streets, as well as across the two main thoroughfares, according to design drawings for the Streetscape project.
"We're trying to minimize the impact on drivers, but once they close Main Street [and North McDonough Street], to put in those crosswalks, then we're going to have to divert traffic to other streets," Maddox said.
West Mill Street is already closed at Main Street, while crews install a new crosswalk. Crews also had Church Street, at Main Street, closed on Thursday, as they marked the space where a crosswalk will go.
Maddox said it will take crews a few days to install each crosswalk, because they have to cut out the section of the street where the crossing area will go, then put in a concrete frame to hold it, before the bricks are finally installed. He said the intersection at Church Street will be handled at the same time as West Mill Street, before crews move outward to College and Smith streets.
The mayor said no date has yet been set for a ribbon cutting ceremony for Streetscape. He said he and the Jonesboro City Council will have to sit down and discuss a date for the ceremony to take place.
Maddox did not rule out, however, the possibility of the ribbon cutting ceremony taking place on April 9, when downtown Jonesboro will play host to Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County, Inc., and the Clayton County Convention and Visitor's Bureau's annual "Taste of Clayton" event.