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I happened to wander up and down 3rd Street a couple of times on Thursday, and so got a good look at how the street is now temporarily set up as CSX works to build the temporary decking over the tunnel construction at the intersection with Virginia Avenue.
As mentioned a few days back, it was decided that instead of closing the intersection altogether, traffic would become one way northbound during the deck construction, with any traffic headed south of the freeway needing to turn left at G Street and then right on 4th Street to come under the freeway. But traffic can still come south of G in order to turn left into the Results parking lot or right to take the 3rd Street ramp to the Southeast Freeway.
As you can see in these terribly exciting photos, northbound traffic is currently in a small "chute" of sorts just south of Virginia, just west of where digging has begun. Then the area opens up under the freeway.
Pedestrians heading either north or south of the freeway are on the sidewalk on the east side, then must cross to get to a temporary walkway west of the "chute" on the south side of the intersection.
I went by about four times, at 1:30, 3:00, 5:00, and 8:30 pm. I saw no big backups on either side of the freeway, though did see one person turn into the Results driveway to then backup and head north back to G.
There are flaggers watching the traffic during construction hours (and also were taking a few seconds to glare pointedly at crazy ladies taking photos of the configuration), but when I passed by at 8:30, there were no workers on site, and I watched two vehicles come south under the freeway past the Road Closed signs. There was no northbound traffic, so they were able to do it, but it's something that people using that intersection outside of the hours that the workers are on site might want to be watching for.
I asked CSX representatives about the first few days of work, and whether there might be any tweaks coming now that they've seen it in action. This is their statement:
"We appreciate the community’s patience and cooperation as we work to install the temporary street deck at the intersection of 3rd Street and Virginia Avenue. CSX is working as quickly as safety allows to install the temporary bridge and restore two-way traffic to 3rd Street. In the meantime, in conjunction with DDOT’s traffic experts, we continue to make adjustments to the directional signs and traffic control devices through the 3rd Street and Virginia Avenue intersection, to optimize the flow of traffic through the area. We are placing new signs north of G Street on 3rd Street to help increase awareness of the one-way traffic below the freeway, and are hopeful that more drivers will obey the signs as they become familiar with the temporary changes."
As the deck construction eventually works its away across the entire intersection, watch for the patterns to change. It is expected to be "several weeks" before the deck is completed and two-way traffic is restored.
If you have questions or concerns about this or any other part of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction, the next Coffee with Chuck is on Wednesday, March 16, at 8 am.
PS: Thanks to all who came to Scarlet Oak for Happy Hour on Thursday! It was great meeting a lot of readers and commenters "in real life," and I think there maybe ought to be another one before too much longer. Once I get my voice back--I'm not used to actually talking to human beings that much.
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GM100 says: (3/12/16 7:44 AM)
I was driving northbound on 3rd at about 7pm on Wednesday and a car was coming at me going the wrong way (southbound). He looked panicked and pulled over and I rolled my window down to tell him the traffic pattern had changed and it was one-way now, but I'm thinking the "road closed" signage isn't quite getting the point across. I think they need a "do not enter"?


dude says: (3/12/16 8:22 AM)
People can't (well, don't or won't) read. I'm not surprised at all.

I've already experienced one situation where a car coming south was simply trying to avoid the barrier AND the guy in the orange vest who was waving and yelling at the person that they coudlnt continue south.


E. Masquinongy says: (3/14/16 1:05 PM)
Looking at the pictures, I can understand the confusion.

The sign says "road closed", but yet the left half is open. I does not say "do not enter," nor is there a "one way" pointing north, nor is there a "detoir 3rd street southbound" sign point east, or anything like that. Generally when there is lane closure there is a flagman there to alternate the traffic. If you have been driving south through there for years, reading comprehension is not the issue: signage is.


jg says: (3/14/16 2:06 PM)
The biggest problem is for folks driving westbound on Virginia Avenue. There is a small sign on the right side of the road near the intersection with 4th Street indicating 3rd Street is closed (can't recall the exact text), but it is very small and all the way to the right - not a spot cars intending to make a left turn on to 3rd Street will be looking. While driving NB on 3rd and stopped at the light at 3rd/VA Ave/I-695 Ramp, I've seen a few cars approach 3rd Street from Virginia Ave thinking they are going to turn left, then come to a screeching halt upon realizing that it's not possible - it's an accident waiting to happen.

There should really be large, electronic signage at 4th & Virginia with a clear message that SB 3rd Street traffic needs to detour to 4th Street instead. I know several people have requested that CSX/DDOT improve the signage, but not sure if it will happen. Hopefully it doesn't take an accident to force the improvements.

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