A block of South Roan Street in downtown Johnson City is under construction as the city continues its revitalization of downtown.
With downtown experiencing millions of dollars in new investment, Johnson City’s Public Works and Water and Sewer Services departments will complete a major utilities upgrade along the 400 block of South Roan Street between State of Franklin Road and East Main Street.
The construction began September 10 and will run through approximately October 21. The curbs and sidewalks will be replaced immediately after the utility installation.
Some businesses like Main Street Pizza fear they could see less business due to utility upgrades. "In the past we have seen that when downtown has been shutdown for other events and things. We don't get as much foot business as we tend to. So hopefully this won't be too bad of a hindrance for people coming our direction," said Michael Harvel, manager at Main Street Pizza.
The affected block of Roan will be closed during that period, and vehicles detoured in two patterns depending on direction of travel. Businesses and residences will remain open and accessible along the block during the work.
"We realize the inconvenience this will create for people, but at the same time, we want Johnson Citians to understand how encouraged we are by all of the exciting growth that is occurring downtown," said Shannon Castillo, Washington County Economic Development Council’s Director of Redevelopment. "Just in the block where the work is taking place, the last year has seen the construction of a $2 million apartment building and the arrival of a successful small business from another part of the city."
Private-sector investment in downtown has totaled more than $18 million since mid-2012. Castillo said that type of growth, which is occurring throughout downtown, is one reason the City of Johnson City and other service providers will install upgraded infrastructure in the coming weeks.
Additional phases are planned heading in the direction of Buffalo Street.
Detour signs will be posted. Traffic heading south on Roan Street through downtown will be detoured left onto East Main Street, right after one block onto Colonial Way, right after one block onto State of Franklin, and left after one block back onto Roan.
Traffic heading north will be detoured left onto State of Franklin, right after two blocks onto Buffalo, and left after three blocks back onto Roan.
Pedestrian access will be maintained, though portions of the sidewalk will be blocked at times during the replacement process.
"The City of Johnson City has made tremendous investment in downtown as well, including some terrific beautification projects with medians and landscaping throughout the area," Castillo said. "The work City employees are down here doing every day is making downtown a much more attractive destination and we can’t thank them enough."