Fairmont slates open house on Lake Avenue work

FAIRMONT — Fairmont residents will have the opportunity to express their thoughts and concerns about the upcoming Lake Avenue construction project at an open house from 5-7 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at City Hall.

Although the project is included in this year’s street improvement program, actual construction on the $2.6 million project will not begin until 2020, with work starting at Fourth Street and continuing east to Downtown Plaza. The 33 abutting properties requiring access during construction, the number of intersections and the configuration of the street contribute to the complexity of the project.

There will not be a formal presentation during the open house, according to Troy Nemmers, city engineer/public works director.

“We are going to have stations set up so the public can look at and comment on the various intersection options and street configuration options,” he said. “There are going to be options for the intersection at First and Main and Lake and also a couple of options for the intersection at Lake and Downtown Plaza.”

The city hired the engineering firm of Bolton & Menk to look at a corridor study of Lake Avenue from Fourth Street to Park Street. Although construction will end at the Lake and Downtown Plaza intersection, the traffic pattern there also will impact the Park Street intersection just one block away.

Some of the options under consideration include switching from four lanes to two-way traffic with a center turn lane, similar to the design past the Marina Lodge, the addition of a bike lane and the redesign of Main Street traffic from Lake to First Street.

“We are very early in the process. We are just looking at a preliminary layout,” Nemmers said. “We haven’t gotten to the details of how it is going to be constructed yet, but with the volume of traffic and the street width, we will probably be able to do half at a time.

“We will keep Lake Avenue open as much as we can. We won’t just shut it down for a summer. We have got businesses we have to keep access to.”