Greenfield — While work on the massive Interstate 94 north-south corridor project continues, another project not far away on 27th Street will begin in mid-May.
By the time it's finished by November, the portion of the road from College to Howard avenues will see improved aesthetics and features such as banners, colored concrete and way-finding signs as part of ongoing efforts to revitalize the corridor.
The project is from the I-94 north-south corridor work, but the same DOT team is managing both due to their proximity, project manager Chris Zacharias said.
The decorative way-finding signs will lead drivers to destinations such as Pulaski and Greenfield high schools, Zablocki Park, Wilson Park Senior Center and the hospital, post office and airport.
The medians will be re-done to also include perennial plants and 150 ornamental trees to add eye-pleasing, "community-sensitive design" elements, Zacharias said.
In addition to the median work, construction crews will put a new asphalt surface on the roadway, replace all traffic signals and lengthen left-hand turn lanes.
The construction will be done in two stages. Crews will work closest to the median in the first stage and then shift work the outside portion near property owners.
Dealing with construction
The project will mean motorists can expect lane closures through the duration. One lane on each side will be closed during each stage and an additional lane may be closed in the overnight hours, reducing traffic to one lane in each direction at times.
A marketing firm is working with 27th Street business owners on strategies to maintain business during the construction period.
Some of those include signage, e-mail alerts, personalized directions, website links to the project site and outreach to customers, vendors and employees, said Micaela Morin of Abrazo Multicultural Marketing and Communication.
The DOT also has a program, In This Together, geared toward businesses in construction zones, as well as a business toolkit on the I-94 north-south corridor website, Morin said.
Energizing 27th Street
The 27th Street corridor has been a point of emphasis over the last several years as Greenfield officials try to bring it back to life.
A business improvement district was created last fall, a move that allows businesses to be specially assessed to help pay for security patrols, marketing and promotional programs, median maintenance and administrative costs.
A tax-incremental financing district was formed from Howard Avenue to about Grange Avenue. TIF districts allow money to be borrowed for infrastructure improvements, with the increased property tax revenue diverted from the tax rolls to pay off the loan.
Meanwhile, a Sonic restaurant opened earlier this year near Layton Avenue and Viet Hoa Supermarket, an Asian-themed grocery store, is under construction.
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