Clearwater city management has approved a new construction schedule and maintenance of traffic, or MOT plan, to expedite the Cleveland Street Streetscape project. The plan, that downtown merchants have also endorsed, is expected to cut the Streetscape's projected completion date by approximately six weeks to Fall 2007.
The revised plan calls for crews to work a block at a time on both sides of the street and the median of Cleveland Street. Crews will begin at Osceola Avenue and work east. Each block should be completed in about 12 weeks, and will be closed to traffic during that 3-month construction period. Affected intersections will be closed for about three weeks. Pedestrian traffic will remain open on both sides of the street. The final landscaping and road surfaces will be added at the end of the project when construction on all affected blocks is finished.
The revised approach offers a number of advantages. Parallel parking spaces included in the streetscape design will also be completed with each block, and patrons will be able to use them as they are built, rather than having to wait until the whole project is done. Traffic flow will be smoother and less confusing as fewer changes to traffic lanes will be required. With fewer vehicles traveling through the construction zone, work crew safety will also be improved. Working on both sides of the street simultaneously will allow a more 'seamless' product than the previously planned phased construction. The new plan will also reduce the necessity for worker and equipment relocation, reducing wear and tear on resources. Finally, as the finished look of the project emerges with each completed block, enthusiasm and patience for the project is expected to grow. Merchants will be able to show off their new look in time for the 2007 holiday season, Clearwater Jazz Holiday and the 2007 Ironman World Championship 70.3.
Clearwater Main Street and the City of Clearwater will turn the Cleveland Street Streetscape construction zone into an interactive art gallery for their annual Cleveland Street Arts Stroll, November 18. Construction is the theme for the 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. festival between Osceola Avenue and Myrtle Avenue in downtown Clearwater. The event will feature interactive demonstrations and exhibits of area artists, a living sculpture, and live music. Drum circles will include construction materials and audience participation in a "Stomp" element. Sponsored by the Downtown Development Board, the public is invited and the event is free.
Downtown construction information is available on the city's website at www.myclearwater.com/downtown, and questions can be addressed through the Streetscape construction office at 462-6126.
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