Closures and Detours
The City must strike a balance between giving full reign of a project area to the contractor and providing full access to people who need to get to and from the adjacent property, all while ensuring the work zone is safe for workers and the general public.
Allowing the contractor the freedom to work on a closed road can shorten the duration of construction while keeping costs lower, but it creates a greater inconvenience to people who need to access the adjacent property. Providing greater access for motorists–by keeping lanes open and using flagging crews–lessens inconveniences for motorists but can lengthen the duration of construction and increase cost.
While each project is evaluated, there are three typical ways to handle traffic during construction:
- Under construction, open to traffic. Typically at least one lane remains open in each direction.
- Closed to through-traffic, open only to local traffic. Detours are provided. This type of closure may be necessary to reduce the risk of conflicts with motorists when the construction requires many trucks and heavy equipment to be maneuvering in the area. However, local traffic that begins or ends within the construction zone is still allowed access, although the path may be very bumpy, dusty, or muddy.
- Closed to all but emergency vehicles. Detours are provided. A road may need to be closed to all but emergency vehicles. In these cases, affected property owners are notified, and efforts are made to complete the work as quickly as possible.
When road closures are necessary, detours are marked with appropriate signage. Even for local traffic beginning or ending at property adjacent to the closed area, detours are usually a quicker, smoother way to travel. Less local traffic within the construction zone also means fewer interruptions and a safer working environment for construction crews, which can help control costs and ultimately contribute to construction being completed sooner.