Adobe Stock / alswart

According to City Lab, many cites are using a reduction in street traffic caused by COVID-19 to fix up the roads, subways, and bus lines. In California, the Beverly Hills City Council recently voted to close a section of Wilshire Boulevard, to deck over a section needed to expedite construction on L.A. Metro’s Purple Line. The project has been tied up in lawsuits for years but the virus has forged a compromise. The decision “will help us minimize future construction impacts to local businesses as they struggle to overcome the impacts of the Covid-19 health crisis,” said Dave Sotero, the communications manager for L.A. Metro.

Reno is also taking advantage of the zeroed-out traffic to hasten work on the Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit Extension Project, an $87 million plan to improve pedestrian access in the city’s core and extend an express bus line to the local University of Nevada campus. That involves shutting down and completely overhauling a half-mile stretch of of Virginia Street through the heart of the city. The closure extends through Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s shelter-in-place order, which currently lasts through the end of April.

Shutting down the street all at once, rather than in segments over time, should mean construction on the midtown segment will wrap up about six weeks earlier than planned, says Jeff Wilbrecht, a project manager at the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County. His back-of-the-envelope estimate is that the time savings could reduce 25% to 30% of the cost of this phase of the project. Right now, sidewalks and rerouted bus lines are still accessible, but Virginia Street “feels like the Wild West, with how barren and vacant and torn to dirt it is,” Wilbrecht said.

Road, highway, and bridge construction is likewise pressing forward in Indiana, Florida, New Jersey, and across the Washington, D.C., region.

Read More