Two streets bordering the Heritage Plaza Garage construction site downtown are currently closed, and a third will be blocked for nine weeks starting July 22, according to the city of Lakeland. In addition, 12 to 14 daily weekday deliveries of large pre-cast concrete panels are expected to further disrupt traffic for four months.
Here’s a look at the road closures:
- Kentucky Avenue between Lemon Street and Orange Street was closed May 1 and will remain closed until garage construction is completed, currently expected in December.
- Tennessee Avenue closed Monday for most of the block between Lemon and Orange and is expected to re-open Aug. 12.
- Orange Street between Kentucky and Tennessee is scheduled to be closed for nine weeks starting July 22.
The map above shows the route that trucks up to 100 feet long will use starting June 22 to deliver concrete panels that will form the walls of the five-story, 824-space garage. Cranes will hoist the panels from the delivery trucks and place them.
“Traffic will be impacted during deliveries and the flow of traffic downtown will be affected by the temporary road closures,” city Communications Director Kevin Cook wrote in a news release. “Those individuals who live, work and visit downtown are encouraged to avoid the construction area and take alternative routes.”
City Manager Tony Delgado said pre-fab construction is the most efficient method and that off-site casting and delivery of the slabs is far less disruptive than the hundreds of wet-concrete deliveries that would be needed for on-site manufacturing of the slabs.
Julie Townsend, executive director of the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority, urged patience: “You can’t have new development without the corresponding disruption of construction in an urban space.”
Valet parking service has been extended to include a station on Lemon Street between Tennessee and Kentucky from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays to accommodate the loss of parking near the construction site, she noted. Hours of
“Lemon And Massachusetts are major thoroughfares for access to downtown, so the closure of Orange and Tennessee is more of a local traffic headache,” she said.
The garage is a joint venture between the city of Lakeland, Lakeland Regional Health Systems, MidFlorida Credit Union and BKP Five LLC. In a condominium arrangement, each entity will own a certain number of parking spaces and pay a pro-rated share of construction costs.
The city of Lakeland, paying $6.3 million of the projected $11 million cost, will own 399 spaces. Twenty to 30 will be set aside for use by downtown visitors during business hours, and all 399 will be available to visitors during nights and weekends, City Manager Tony Delgado has said.