Salisbury’s West Main Street open for Downtown traffic

West Main Street in Downtown Salisbury is “open — with an asterisk,” said Amanda Pollack, Salisbury’s Director of Infrastructure and Development. “It’s still a construction zone.” The contractor is still working on installing brick pavers, landscaping, trash cans and benches.

A four-year makeover project for West Main Street is close to wrapping up with traffic now flowing all the way from Mill Street to Route 13 after the section once known as the Downtown Plaza was reopened.

Amanda Pollack.

“It’s open — with an asterisk,” said Amanda Pollack, Salisbury’s Director of Infrastructure and Development. “It’s still a construction zone.”

The contractor is still working on installing brick pavers, landscaping, trash cans and benches on both the Downtown Plaza and Division Street.

No daytime parking is allowed along the Plaza portion until the work is completed, she said.

The Plaza — the section between Mill and Division streets — was converted to a pedestrian-only area in 1968, but it was later reopened to one-way traffic and limited parking.

The one-way traffic direction is now reversed so that vehicles enter from Mill Street rather than exit there.

Pollack said there will be some shorter street closings coming up while a crosswalk on a raised table – similar to a speed bump – is installed at the intersection at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

The raised table means the entire intersection will be slightly elevated as a means to slow traffic. The devices are in place on a section of Wayne Street owned by Salisbury University, but it will be the first time they have been used in a city project, Pollack said.

The work is all part of the ongoing Main Street revitalization project that started in 2016 when City Council members approved a $4.6 million contract and broke ground for the work which includes the replacement of 100-year-old water and sewer mains, installation of high-speed internet lines and esthetic improvements above ground.

The project has had a few holdups along the way, including a months-long shutdown in the block between Route 13 and Poplar Hill Avenue when soil contamination from old underground fuel tanks was detected and had to be cleaned up.

The project has since moved block by block to the west until it reached the Downtown Plaza which is the final phase.

The work has included significant changes at Main and Division streets near the Government Office Building that altered the parking pattern and also made it safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

In between two curb bump-outs on the east side of North Division Street – one near the intersection and another closer to Route 50 – there are 12 angled, back-in parking spaces.

City officials have said the back-in spaces are safer when vehicles pull out because drivers have a clearer vision of the street, as well as any nearby pedestrians or bicycles.

Six more spaces parallel to the curb are across the street.

Traffic on West Main Street will now flow one-way from west to east, with the lack of trees visually reintroducing drivers to the steep incline.

The large bump-out on the northeast corner of the intersection still leaves enough room for two 11-foot-wide traffic lanes – enough for emergency vehicles and tractor-trailers to negotiate turns there.

The city hired a separate contractor to work on the block of South Division Street by the One Plaza East building not included in the original Main Street plan to tie it into a new Town Square next to the Downtown Parking Garage.

City officials also opted to remove the traffic signal at the intersection.

The contractors are expected to wrap up the entire project by mid-October, which is a bit ahead of schedule, Pollack said.

“It’s really nice to have an end in sight,” she said.

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