Wood Avenue roadwork causes delays for students

Construction equipment lines Wood Avenue Aug. 21. Students should use Pine Street instead of Wood Avenue, said City Engineer Bill Batson.

Roadwork on Wood Avenue and the Streetscape Project on Tennessee Street continues as students return to UNA’s campus this semester.

Florence City’s Streetscape Project on Tennessee Street ranges from Seminary Street to Dr. Hicks Boulevard. The project will visually tie Tennessee Street into the rest of downtown, said Florence City Planning Director Melissa Bailey.

There may be delays if students are using Tennessee Street to access campus, but there are other routes, including western entrances, she said.

Bailey said she anticipates the Streetscape Project’s completion within the next few weeks.

“One area of concern, really for me, for the UNA students would also be Wood Avenue, and I think with both of these projects ongoing at the same time, the delays in and around campus may be more than what the students are expecting,” Bailey said.

The initial plan is to have the areas on Wood Avenue completed by Sept. 1 until then, the roadwork will be an “inconvenience,” said City Engineer Bill Batson.

The construction is sometimes troublesome, said sophomore Mikayla James.

“If it’s making Florence nicer, I guess it’s a good thing,” James said.

This project is addressing aesthetics as well as safety.

“At the same time, we’re adding in some safety elements like new lighting, new traffic signals and hopefully also slowing the traffic down just a bit,” Bailey said.

These new changes are challenging to work around, said freshman Michael Zimmerman.

“It makes it definitely a little bit harder (and) more time consuming,” Zimmerman said.

Although incovienient, the Streetscape Program benefited other areas of Florence in the past and helped improve the economy downtown, Bailey said.