Williams is now two weeks into the major construction project on Grand Canyon Boulevard.
Judging by the amount of people in town, so far the street closure doesn’t seem to be scaring visitors away.
Actually, one downtown merchant pointed out the number of customers in his store has been up since the construction has been underway. Hopefully, no Williams business will suffer too much during the process.
Certainly no one can fault the signage up along the detour. Anyone venturing into town from Interstate 40’s exit 163 can’t miss the flagman at Franklin Avenue and Grand Canyon Boulevard or the mammoth electrical signs with flashing arrows pointing the way to the downtown shops and our visitor center.
And the city of Williams has jumped in with clever messages reminiscent of the old Burma Shave signs along highways of yesteryear.
With wording like “Thirsty, hungry, Want to shop, It’s all downtown, Turn left at stop,” tourists surely can find their way to our downtown district.
At times, there is a line of traffic backed up on Seventh waiting to head south to Route 66. And particularly locals should keep in mind the intersection of Franklin and Seventh now entails a three-way stop.
In a couple more weeks, school will be back in session so motorists need to be extremely cautious on Seventh.
Are their inconveniences? Sure there are. But keep in mind what Williams will have at the job’s end.
The federally funded railroad crossing improvement project is a joint venture, which includes Arizona Department of Transportation, the city, Grand Canyon Railway and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.
Combs Construction of Peoria, which bid $377,983, got the contract to reconstruct the roadway on both sides of the three sets of railroad tracks, including building up the roadway to provide a smooth crossing, widening the roadway, constructing curbs and gutters and making drainage improvements.Sidewalks will be installed on the west side of Grand Canyon Boulevard from the visitor center north to Franklin.
The railroad will install crossing gates and new flashing lights, that will certainly increase safety at the busiest railroad crossing in town. They will also provide high strength planks for each set of railroad tracks and pour concrete pavement between the sets of tracks ensuring a smooth ride to boot.
Earlier ADOT press releases stated 70 working days — 10-hours-a-day, five-days-a-week — have been allotted to the project, so hang in there. According to Sim Brubaker of HDR Construction, who is overseeing the project for ADOT, so far work is progressing on schedule.
When you get frustrated with the traffic, keep reminding yourself of the benefits down the road.