Traffic flow in the Midtown District has been hampered for about a year, with barricades blocking off a portion of Lake Street.
The intersection of Lake and Elizabeth Street is now a massive hole as crews work to replace a broken drainage structure that directs a creek underneath the road, and pulls storm water from Tyler Junior College and a nearby neighborhood into the system.
Work started in May, and is scheduled to take four months. Capps Capco Construction is doing the work for $346,000, which is paid out of the Storm Water Utility Fund.
Crews are working to get the street open before Tyler Junior College starts on Aug. 21, said Kyle Dykes, project engineer for the city of Tyler.
It currently is an estimated 30 percent complete.
“We are working to expedite our schedule so we can meet that goal,” Dykes said. “Rain is unpredictable, so we can’t make guarantees, but we are doing everything we can to open the road up before school starts.”
In a statement, the college said the work would improve traffic flow to the college.
“We are glad to see the progress being made on Lake Street as it will allow easier access to TJC, especially for those traveling from the north,” the statement reads.
Dykes said the underground drainage channel failed primarily because of its age. It was built 50 to 60 years ago, and it didn’t handle the abnormal rainstorms from 2014 to 2016 well.
In June 2016, holes started popping up in the pavement, and staff determined the culvert was too broken for repair. So, design work started on a replacement and the street was closed off until the plans were done and the project was bidded out.
That work has seen some rain delays, but last week crews were able to put in the first concrete walls, which will be the base for the structure.
The work is in a creek bed and rain makes the work extra difficult.
“Their schedule is impacted by weather,” Dykes said. “We had had more rainstorms this summer than normal.”
After the culvert is put in place, the contractor will replace the roadway.