Summer of brake lights: Downtown Lexington road work

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You can't make new sidewalks without breaking a little concrete, which is exactly what's happening around downtown Lexington.

The summer construction season has begun in Lexington. "We're right in the middle of it already," says Lexington Streetscape Project Manager George Milligan.

Four projects are taking place simultaneously. The $17 million Limestone project is expected to wrap up by July 1, says Milligan.

At the same time work just started on Vine between Broadway and Limestone. Similar work is being done along Main, in phases between Elm Tree and Broadway.

"The whole idea is to make it more pedestrian friendly," says Milligan.

The irony is while the work is going on, downtown is anything but pedestrian friendly.

Jerry Morse is taking notice. His restaurant, J Morse on Vine, is at the corner of two projects currently going on.

He says 80% of his business is walk-in clients, saying they have to avoid an obstacle course just to get in the door, not to mention trying to eat outside.

"the overwhelming problems brought on by the dust and the noise, and the heavy equipment just a few feet from the people's head as they're walking down the street," he says.

Morse says a strong dinner crowd is keeping him in business for now, but the work going on in front of his restaurant is expected to last until late August.

The same goes for the other road projects downtown.

Milligan says when the work is finished, downtown will have new sidewalks, new storm sewers and rain gardens installed.

He estimates the cost of all projects to be $28 million. But the work on Vine street is being done with the help of Federal Stimulus money.

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