Posted at: 02/22/2013 9:35 PM
Updated at: 02/22/2013 10:38 PM
By: Steph Crock
(ABC 6 News) -- It's one of the busiest roads in all of Rochester and soon, part of it may be under construction. In late 2010, construction on 2nd Street Southwest from Highway 52 to downtown Rochester wrapped up. This spring, another section on the other side of the highway will get an upgrade.
There are still two assessment hearings left and the construction plans must be approved by the state, but the roughly $7 million project was just approved by city council this week. The hope is to begin construction by spring. Businesses along that corridor are excited for the finished product, but not so much a summer of construction.
"Obviously we’re a part of Rochester and feel like we've always been a part of it, but you feel like being that we're on the other side of 52 it feels like we're a little disconnected from it,” said Manager at Sargent's on Second, Scott Moon. It's a floral shop on Second Street Southwest, just seconds from downtown, but sort of isolated from all the downtown action.
However, that could soon change. "52 over to 23rd Avenue is being totally reconstructed and then the piece from 23rd Avenue out to Circle Drive is having kind of a mill and overlay done to that," said Assistant Olmsted County Engineer Kaye Bieniek.
"With the road expansion that they've done on Second Street from the Mayo Clinic all the way now to the bridge, it'll just be a continuation that will certainly draw people down this way," said Moon.
The city is hoping to urbanize the street making it more like what you see downtown. “Wider boulevards, maybe some landscaping, bus shelters, benches.." said Bieniek.
"I am really excited. The project, I think, will be really good for business when it’s done and it’s going to look great," said Manager of the store Antiquity, Melissa Rhods.
“We're excited about it, it’s good," said Moon. It could be great for businesses on that strip and... “it's going to make it a much safer," said Moon.
“There's no question there is a need to have a better, safer, smother transportation system for that corridor," said Bieniek.
It all sounds great, but there is one little speed bump, road construction. “It's going to be great when it’s finished. I just hope that it goes fast," said Rhods.
“We'll make it as easy and painless as we possibly can for our customers coming to visit us, and they'll work with us as well, and we'll get through it," said Moon.
The good news, if construction starts in spring they hope it'll be done by the end of summer. The majority of the project will be funded by revenue from the Rochester City Sales Tax.