EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Drivers in Eau Claire had to navigate their way through construction as a project made its first impact on traffic Monday.
Drivers noticed a nearly three-month project on Menomonie Street for the first time Monday, as crews busted up blacktop and hauled it away.
“First thing they'll be doing are the underground utilities, the water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer. Then once the utilities are in, we'll come through with curb and gutter, gravel, then we'll put the pavement down,” Eau Claire City Engineer Dave Solberg said.
Business owners said they were concerned when the city first planned a four mile detour through Cameron Street, diverting their customers away from the area, but that plan changed, allowing access through a temporary bypass road.
“I think it should be good as long as they are able to maintain access to these businesses right here. The city staff says they'll do their best, and I hope the construction people do also,” Cornerstone Management Owner Doug Ottum said.
Reducing lanes confused some.
“(Monday) morning, we did have someone that was in the wrong lane, so you weren't able to turn in,” Plan Ahead Events Chippewa Valley Executive Director Tricia Hanson said.
“It's two lanes that are out there, one that comes into Menomonie Street and one that exits, and they mistook that lane coming into Menomonie Street, for a left turn lane onto Clairemont (Ave). So we're monitoring it,” Solberg said.
The road's regulars said it's a necessary change.
“It will be good for Carson Park, it will be good for a lot of things. Road construction's tough. It's tough and you just have to design it as best you can, build it and get it over with,” Ottum said.
“We urge the traveling public to go slow, be safe. Our workers are working extremely hard out there, both for the city and for the contractor. They're here to try to make things better for everybody so just be patient and keep in mind their safety as well,” Solberg said.
The construction is expected to be completed before mid-Aug., and Solberg said people can use Cameron Street as an alternative.