Author photo

By Robert Connors
Managing Editor 

Temporary Traffic Pattern Change Coming to Downtown Lake Wales Starting Monday

 

Last updated 9/6/2023 at 10:34am

News file image

Phase Two of the reconstruction of Park Avenue will begin Monday, requiring the closure of a potion of First Street north of Stuart Avenue to north of Park. The street surface will be reconstructed with new brick pavers and sidewalks during a planned month-long closure. Replacement of water, storm, and sanitary sewer lines will also be performed before new pavement is put in place.

The changing face of downtown Lake Wales is moving forward as contractors begin the second phase of a multi-part project to reconstruct Park Avenue between Wetmore Street and Scenic Highway.

A closure of a block of First Street will begin Monday morning, August 28, and is expected to last until November. At that time the street will reopen along with the completed western block of Park Avenue between First and Wetmore, which will then be open to two-way traffic for the first time in at least 60 years. Two way traffic will eventually be the rule on all of Park Avenue west of Scenic Highway.

During construction detours will reroute traffic north of Stuart Avenue to avoid the construction zone in front of the US post office. The privately-owned parking lot at the southeast corner of the intersection will be accessible only from Park Avenue, according to project planners, but sidewalks along First Street will be open to offer pedestrian access the post office.

Courtesy Dover, Kohl & Partners

A video tour of the completed Park Avenue streetscape shows the transformation expected under the plan.

The construction is part of the implementation of the Lake Wales Connected plan, intended to transform downtown streets into shady, pedestrian oases featuring sidewalk cafes and dining. Future phases will include portions of Central, Orange, and Crystal Avenues. A reconstruction of portions of Scenic Highway is also in the works, to include the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Crystal Avenue at the railroad crossing.

Plans generally reflect narrower traffic lanes, wider sidewalks, bike lanes, and lush tree canopies to reflect the city's heritage as an Olmsted-landscaped "Garden City."

General contractor Gomez Construction is conducting the Park Avenue project, but other companies may be involved in concurrent projects on other streets and phases.

The Park Avenue plan includes pouring concrete during overnight hours so that new sidewalks will be ready for early-morning pedestrians. Gomez Project Manager Mahmoud Heda said that, despite unavoidable traffic detours, Park Avenue "sidewalks will never be shut down during business hours" so that access to area businesses will always be available.

 

Reader Comments(0)

 
 

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2024

Rendered 02/28/2024 07:31