Kingston city workers and contractors are getting closer to beginning several projects in Midtown Kingston that officials said will ease congestion, but for the next couple of years it might actually be harder to get around.
While projects that may make the city more walkable, bike-friendly and drivable proceed, drivers should expect to see detours and road closures, Mayor Steve Noble said during his State of the City address.
One of the projects Mayor Noble was especially excited about was a complete redesign of Broadway in Midtown Kingston.
The $3 million project will include new sidewalks, new synchronized traffic signals, and a bike lane.
It could begin in the spring and be completed within a year.
Another project that has been delayed multiple times while the city and Department of Transportation tried to nail down its exact cost is construction of a traffic circle at the convergence of Broadway, Albany Avenue and I-587.
That project could be completed sometime in 2021.
The city also plans to tear down the building that once housed a Planet Wings franchise — but currently sits vacant — so Grand Street can cut straight across Broadway instead of having an odd zig-zag that often confuses drivers.
The city recently bought the property in order to make that change.
Warren Dawson, who often walks on Broadway to go to-and-from People's Place, said the changes will make most peoples' daily lives less aggravating.
"I think it's fantastic, especially when it comes to road work," he said.
He does realize, though, that getting around Midtown will likely become more difficult while construction happens.
Depending on when exactly each project begins, there could be multiple road crews working at once, leading to multiple detours and road closures on a daily basis.
The projects will continue over a period of about two years, officials said.
"I'm thinking about school buses, the corporations, the companies, and so forth," Dawson said, "but if it's going to be better in the long run, I'm for it."
In his address, Mayor Noble acknowledged the setbacks that come with such large projects.
He is asking the community to hang in there.
"Every time we see a construction sign, let’s just imagine it says ‘Progress, straight ahead,'" he said.
The projects may not be a large burden on taxpayers, since Kingston has secured several kinds of state assistance.
The DOT is funding the traffic circle construction, and sewer line replacement beneath the site should be easier for the city since the DOT will have already excavated the land.
A state grant is going to fund most of the Broadway redesign.