This week Southwest 34th Street traffic will be snarled by more than the typical rush hour delays.
The second phase of repaving 34th Street began Sunday night and is expected to continue through Friday, Sept. 25, said Rebecca White, a spokesperson for District 2 of the Florida Department of Transportation. Gainesville residents can expect lane closures, the smell of fresh asphalt and an end to the manholes protruding from the street.
The first layer of asphalt, known as the structural course, was put down in late June, according to White. Many manhole covers were left raised higher than the road and the street level didn’t reach the gutter, but the final layer of asphalt will smooth out the road.
Nic Yacoboni, a 21-year-old employee at Play It Again Sports, frequently travels the stretch of 34th, between the Westgate Regency Shopping Center and Hull Road, to return to his apartment in the Woodlands. The raised manhole covers caused the undercarriage of his Chevy Malibu to fall off and drag on the street.
“I know for a fact it was [the covers], I heard it,” Yacoboni said. “I was driving along and then BOOM!”
Although the street has caused a hassle for Yacoboni, he said he knows the construction will be for the better.
Single lanes will be closed on Southwest 34th Street starting at 6 p.m. on weekdays and multiple lanes will be closed at 8 p.m. No lanes will be closed over the weekend.
White said that there could be no lanes closed during home football game weekends. However, with the Gators football team away this weekend, the contractors will be able to pave straight through the weekend and be done by Sept. 25—weather permitting.
Preferred Materials, Inc. of Jacksonville was contracted to do the repaving of Southwest 34th Street between Archer Road and Northwest Fifth Avenue. The last time the road was resurfaced was July 2004.
This final phase of resurfacing was partly delayed due to the wet summer season, White said. “We also had kids coming back to school for the fall semester and then football season starts.
The FDOT had received complaints about the state of the road, but White asks the public to be patient.
John Peasant Jr., 31, who lives just off of 34th Street, agrees that the construction is a “necessary evil.”
“It’s really, really nerve wracking, especially when people get a sense of road rage or in general become impatient,” Peasant said. “I really hate the manholes that are not being taken care of, but it’s a process. I get it.”
White said the FDOT is doing the best they can, given the summer weather. “We had a very rainy wet season and it was hard to lay asphalt in rain, but we’re moving right along now,” she said.