WACO, TX — Work is finally set to begin after the City of Waco City Council approved a $3.9 million bid for the two-way conversion of Washington Ave.
Talk started two years ago, but bids came in too high. So after going back to the drawing board, changes were made, and the City was able to save an extra $1 million on the project.
"It's an opportunity to travel in and out of a particular area without traveling blocks away and then having to revert back," said Jim Reed, City of Waco, Streets Division Manager.
Last time major work was done on Washington Ave. was in the 80s. Reed says this work is much needed, especially as scoring on the road came in at 47 out of 100.
"The pavement life is starting to have some issues," Reed said. "We like to have a grade school score on Washington Avenue about 80 to 100."
Business are excited for the change as well. Summer Hughes works at Lighthouse Coffee & Wine and she's had to flag a few people down after making the wrong turn.
"I ran out into our porch and I was like, "Wait! Hey! No!" and they turned back around, so that was helpful," Hughes said. "It happens a lot."
Having a two-way street also brings more access to businesses who are stuck on the one-way road.
"Just making sure these businesses are thriving. I think a business needs access, and that is what Waco is now providing for us," Hughes said.
Washington Avenue will be completed in phases. Phase one will focus on lighting fixtures, traffic and pedestrian signs.
Drivers shouldn't have to worry about alternate routes as impact should be minimal until the end of construction when the two-lane conversion needs to be set.
Completion is expected for spring 2022.