Denison begins road closures for Main Street improvements

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Denison residents gather for the groundbreaking of the Designing Downtown Denison project in January. Crews have begun closing roads as a part of utility improvements related to the project.

Crews in Denison have begun to clear the way for improvements to the streetscape of downtown Denison. The city has begun street closures as a part of the Designing Downtown Denison project, which will see utility improvements alongside a modernization of Main Street Denison.

As crews work on the improvements, Interim City Manager Bobby Atteberry said various streets and lanes will be closed to allow for the construction. However, the city is working to maintain access throughout the process.

"Everyone still has access through the rear. Maybe it isn't at the same time, but they still have access on one side or the other as we are doing this."

The city began planning on the wide-scale improvements to Main Street in 2016 through a series of planning and visioning meetings. Those meetings led to the creation of a Designing Downtown Denison plan. Early draft pictures show redesigned roadways with extended pedestrian spaces and green space throughout downtown.

Crews officially began work on the first phase, which will extend from near City Hall toward East Main Street across Austin Avenue, in January. Last week, crews began to officially close roads as a part of the utility improvements.

Crews closed about three blocks of Houston last Monday to allow for clearing related to the utility work. During this time, one lane will be left open for traffic. This includes the intersection with Main Street, Atteberry said.

In about two months, crews will begin work on the section of Main Street east of Austin Avenue. During this time, access will be limited and property owners may need to use back alleys to gain access.

During this time, front access to the Denison Police Department will also be limited, but alternative routes will remain open.

"We have to maintain a route in and out for them," Atteberry said. "They are coming down chestnut and accessing the parking lot from the rear, or they are using that alley behind their building."

Once work is done on the main lanes of the roads, crews will begin work on the back alleyways, which will also be improved as a part of D3.

Atteberry estimated that the first section of work will take about one year to complete. Once this work is done, crews will be able to move on to the second section west of Austin Avenue.

Austin itself could potentially be a difficult section of the road project. Atteberry said the improvements tot he street will include enhanced crosswalks and signaling, but the city will be unable to close the road for this work. Instead, the work will be completed one lane at a time, he said.