Virginia Street reopens: Midtown reacts

The orange cones have been removed from Midtown and there’s only one word to describe how drivers are feeling.

“Excited,” says Jeanette Flory.

For the past six months the two-way street was reduced to one southbound lane, as part of phase one of the Virginia Street project.

Flory lives in Midtown and says she was surprised to find the road back to normal.

“I actually got the notification on my phone. I’m signed up for the alerts and it said traffic was two ways from Plumb to Liberty; and I posted it because I was like is this serious? Because I never thought I’d see the day,” says Flory.

One Midtown business store manager says once construction stopped, more people started coming.

“I’m not sure if it’s the sun or the roads opening but either way it’s been really nice to see increased traffic,” says John Blomquist, Whispering Vine store manager.

It might be returning to business as usual, but as Lauren Ball with the Regional Transportation Commission says, there are a few more things to be done before phase one is completely finished and then crews will start working on the final phase soon after.

“So the first two to three weeks in April we’ll be doing some storm drain work between Center Street and Vassar Street. So that will be one-way traffic only and then the next part of construction will start in June or July of 2019,” says Ball.

Ball says if you don’t think Virginia Street looks any different, you’re right; phase one focused on work that needed to be done underground. In the summer when phase two is started, that when the new pavement, sidewalks and 240 trees will be added.

“I mean it’s already just turned so much and it’s really awesome, but to have like trees and stuff down here and lighting, it’s going to be really cool,” says Flory.

Blomquist says he’s concerned after looking at the construction plans that limited parking is still going to be an issue.

“That’s the biggest complaint I get from our customers, is how difficult parking is,” says Blomquist.

With change comes concern but the only thing known for sure is the construction will start again soon.