As many Quincy residents have realized and the Post-Register reported as well, the new traffic circle on 13th Avenue SW and State Route 28 is open to drivers in all directions.
The roundabout project, originally slated to be completed in August, was delayed by the installation of a drainage system. According to incoming City Administrator Pat Haley, workers found conduit lines essential for the data centers when excavating at the roundabout intersection. Those underground lines made the drainage system wanted by the state Department of Transportation unworkable, drawing out construction after it had begun.
Before closing the intersection in all directions on July 8, a lane eastbound, a lane westbound and 13th Avenue SW lanes (to the south) allowed traffic to pass, albeit slowly through the construction zone. Vehicles had some difficulty reaching the shopping complex at the intersection, but the area was not unreachable. While traffic was slowed, businesses in the shopping area suffered.
“It’s been a disaster for the businesses there,” said Mike McKee, owner of Mike’s BBQ and Smoked Meats, located in the shopping center.
Some businesses in the area, such as China Tang Buffet, closed for two weeks due to slow business. Others changed their hours or even laid off workers, according to Haley.
Agitated with the lingering construction and only partial access to the shopping complex, seven businesses created and signed a petition requesting that the city expedite the construction by closing the intersection altogether.
“Please understand that this construction project has been problematic from the start and has caused financial damage for a majority of our businesses,” stated the petition.
Quincy City Council granted the request of the businesses and scheduled the intersection to be completely shut down from July 8 to July 19.
“We were persuaded to close it just to get the job done,” Haley said.
The intersection reopened in the evening of July 19.
McKee said business is picking back up where it left off. Unlike some of the other businesses in the area, McKee did not close his doors while the intersection was closed, saying his employees cannot afford to go without a paycheck.
“I think it was wise to expedite the construction,” McKee said, adding that it could have been better with clearer communication from the city.
Temporary lighting was installed at the roundabout. The temporary lighting, powered by generators, will remain at the site until electricians install permanent lighting in August, as originally scheduled.
By Miles King, email@example.com