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Basin Street is open to traffic but remains one-way

After a year of waiting, a remodeled section of Basin Street will soon be reopened for two-way traffic, city officials said.

The street has been closed since March, as well as the intersecting portion of East Third Street, with traffic blocked off and a challenging detour around several city blocks.

“I know we have been waiting a while,” said Councilman Don Noviello, adding, “the community has been waiting a while.”

It will be open as a north-south boulevard between East Third and East Fourth streets before the holidays, according to William E. Nichols Jr., city finance director and general manager of River Valley Transit.

The street remained one direction as of this week.

Crews with Glenn O. Hawbaker added touches of panache, such as a grass medial strip with black iron period lights and new sidewalks to give the city block a boulevard-look. The upgrades also make for more visibility at its intersection with East Fourth Street.

The detour required vehicles heading east to turn off East Third Street onto Academy, to Church Street and around the construction zone to return to East Third Street.

Motorists and pedestrians also could not go north or south along Basin Street in the work zone.

Councilwoman Bonnie Katz said she is excited drivers can finally use the corridor, which more easily connects people from Washington Boulevard and the East End into the city downtown or the other way.

“It took a lot of minds and a lot of work,” Katz said.

The reconstruction is a part of the vision going back more than five years ago with the East Third Street Old City Gateway Revitalization Project Commission, Katz said.

Once it is open for two-way traffic, Basin Street will be a continuous two-way corridor between Via Bella and the intersection of East Fourth and Franklin streets, she said.

In 2020, the second phase of the revitalization project plan is to reconstruct East Third Street between Market and Basin streets, Nichols said.

The design work on Basin Street was done by architectural design engineers with Larson Design Group, Nichols said.

The grass medial strip on Basin Street will have more landscaping added to it in the spring, he said.

A visit to the corner of Franklin and Basin streets reveals pedestrian crosswalks, pavers and stop signs, which replace a confusing corner that was dangerous for students and staff and visitors of Lycoming College to walk across or drive.

The sidewalk, curbing and road surface on East Fourth Street east to Penn Street is also scheduled for a makeover as part of the revitalization, Nichols said.

The street leads to the new south entrance of Lycoming College on the north side, with views of the edifice of the college’s Krapf Gateway Center and to the south, the intersection with East Third Street.

The reconstruction cost $2 million and was paid for using state Department of Transportation multi-modal grants and private organization funding, Nichols said.

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