Design funds approved for Kelly Street improvements

Matt Algarin
The five-way intersection along Kelly Street will see significant upgrades when improvements are made along this stretch of roadway.

With the road deteriorating along Kelly Street, funds were approved for engineering and construction plans during last week's City Council meeting.

"I've waited 12 years for this to come to the council," Councilwoman Sandy Trammell told her colleagues.

The city will pay Tetra Tech $41,800 to draft up plans for the segment of Kelly Street between Benning Drive and Calhoun Avenue. A three-phased approach will be used during the project.

At a cost of $500,000, phase one of the project calls for the roadway to be completely milled and resurfaced, bike lanes to be installed, striping to be placed, and safety improvements made at the five-way intersection, in addition to the installation of traffic calming features.

Phase two of the project would see the construction of 8-foot wide sidewalks along the stretch of road, as well as the construction of stormwater swales on the south side of the road.

The final phase of the project would call for 6-foot wide sidewalks and roadside stormwater swales on the north side of Kelly Street.

City Manager Maryann Ustick said Kelly Street "is a continued priority for the council this year."

"There was an extensive public involvement process," she said.

As part of the planning up to this point, the city had sent out more than 200 letters to property owners within a 300-foot area of the project. The responses ranged from positive to skeptical.

Some residents along Kelly Street called for the city to use ribbon curbing, which "dresses up the street," while others said the project "will cost too much money and ruin the look of an established neighborhood."

James Ready wrote "I would not surrender my property for a halfway designed beautification project that isn't need."

A handwritten letter, complete with Elizabeth-Ann letterhead, says "I think it is wonderful that you will be improving Kelly Street. It definitely needs resurfacing desperately. Very excited."

Now that funding has been approved for the design of construction plans, the actual plans must be put together and approved before construction can begin. The city is still early in the process and no definite timeline for work to begin has been set.