No fooling: Downtown street closed for 6 months

EUGENE, Ore. - Olive Street closed to traffic Monday between 12th and 13th avenues downtown and will remain closed for the next 6 months.

No fooling.

The road and sidewalks are closed to help facilitate a massive housing project being built by Capstone Collegiate Communities.

Construction extends for over a block and a half, and the contractor estimates as many as 100 trucks could enter the area each day.

City officials said so much traffic creates a safety risk for the public.

"The project is huge. They will have large equipment there," said Tom Larsen, city traffic engineer. "There are semi trucks unloading on a regular basis, hundreds of cement trucks. There is no way we can safely accommodate the traveling public and the construction at the same time."

The left lane on 13th is also closed between Charnelton and Olive to allow construction vehicles through.

Larsen said detours created by the closures should only be one or two blocks.

The road ablocked but the side walks have been fenced off to prevent pedestrians from walking into the construction zone.

The owner of The Kiva grocery said many of their customers walk and bike down Olive to get to their store on 12th Avenue.

"We are letting them know that there are going to be some disruptions to their normal routes and are encouraging them to walk on some of the alternative streets," Melissa Brown said. She owns the store with her husband George Brown, who is a Eugene City Councilor.

Melissa Brown said she is worried they may lose customers and construction may cause traffic problems in an already congested area.

"I have a lot of concerns about that," she said, "and concerns about the impact of safety on the other street because of the increase of cars, buses, bikes, pedestrians."