The closure of the major 30th Street and Grand Avenue intersection might have just started yesterday but construction crews are making significant progress already. We stopped by the project this afternoon to see how things are going and to talk with local businesses about the impacts of the construction.

As you can see from the gallery above, the stop lights have already been taken down and asphalt continues to be ripped up so that new improvements can be implemented. As we mentioned earlier, the joint project between WYDOT and the City of Laramie will add new turn lanes, bring the intersection up to ADA standards, upgrade the storm sewers and drainage, improve traffic signals and replace two water lines in the area. It is estimated that construction will take about two and a half months with the intersection set to re-open on June 15th. During the project, WYDOT does aim to keep all businesses accessible. In the meantime there are bound to be some problems that crop up as with any project that impacts a majority of local citizens and a multitude of businesses in the vicinity.    

While construction seems to be progressing well, some people are seeing red. Earlier today when we posted information about the detours in place and asked people how they thought the routes were working on our facebook page, there were not too many complimentary responses. One person stated that "It took [them] 25 minutes to get from Wal-Mart to 22nd & Willett" while another called the detours "Terrible!" Unfortunately we have heard more of the same throughout the day and local businesses echoed the public's response with comments that things could have been planned out much more cohesively.

In particular the detour south of the construction project on Garfield Street has been very busy as you would expect. The manager of Albertsons expressed that things could be running much smoother and said that she was surprised temporary traffic lights were not deployed along the detour to handle the traffic, calling the current situation a "cluster." Apparently people have been waiting a long time in traffic. She also told us that one of her customers today said "I hope you are feeling the love that I took the time to come in today" as she entered the store. They were also concerned about how their business would fare during graduation time when they would normally have a large amount of business.

The Holiday Inn told us that construction has caused a challenge for guests trying to access the hotel and Perkins was less than thrilled with the project's signage and communication with locals. They expressed that flaggers have been less than helpful to their customers. While they said their regular guests are still making it into the restaurant, apparently WYDOT failed to mention closing off their entrance for periods of time and not letting their guests through. With Perkins being isolated at the end of the northern detour, it is sure to hurt their business. The store manager told us that traffic on Monday was off to the tune of about 15% and that they were concerned about their turnout on Easter. They were told the project wouldn't start until after the holiday. Perkins will be running promotions that will be announced soon to reward their guests in appreciation for stopping by the restaurant.

We were also told indirectly that the construction setup has been causing problems for the Exxon gas station as well because there was no consideration for their tanker trucks accessing the location during construction.

Clearly there are some problems with the closure of the intersection but we do expect that WYDOT will be working through them since the closure is set to last an extended period of time. Feel free to comment below and let us know your thoughts...