Photo by Brandon Peoples/KMAN

Photo by Brandon Peoples/KMAN

Traffic congestion in the Aggieville area should ease up soon as construction nears completion on the new Marriott hotel near 12th and Bluemont Ave.

Sidewalk improvements continue in front of Coco Bolo’s and Starbucks, with work adjacent to the hotel and turning the corner onto 12th Street within the next four to six weeks. Deputy City Manager Jason Hilgers tells KMAN the City Engineer is feeling the pressure to reopen the right eastbound lane as the project gets closer to being finished, which should allow traffic to move more smoothly through town.

“It’s something we look forward to doing here within the next couple months, to get that lane back open, get those sidewalks back open and allow pedestrians and vehicles to move about that Bluemont corridor more freely,” he said.

Brick facade work is finishing up with most of the rest of construction to take place indoors,

Manhattan Mayor Wynn Butler says he’s been impressed with the redesigned roadway along 12th Street which was completed just a few weeks ago.

“It doesn’t have the curbs, and the way the street’s designed and that’s the first time it was closed off and I thought it was quite impressive. That’s coming along pretty much as envisioned,” he said.

The hotel project should be completed sometime in late July or August.

The buzz in activity both last weekend and the previous two weeks is causing city officials to become cautiously optimistic regarding the return to a more normal economic activity.

Hilgers says since Riley County relaxed restrictions March 1, more people have slowly begun returning to more normal commercial activity. This past weekend alone, he says, saw wait times in some establishments as long as 45 minutes or more just to get inside.

“It’s been a while since we’ve seen that in Manhattan. It’s good to see. It means folks are back out and they’re engaging and they’re participating in commerce in our community. That’s what we have long desired to get through this,” he said.

While official sales tax numbers lag about two months behind, Hilgers estimates the activity is and will continue to have a profound impact on the city’s bottom line, thanks to community effort and the Riley County Health Department.

“I appreciate where the county, the board of health and Julie Gibbs (local health officer) have been throughout this entire process and where they’re at today. I think it’s in line with a majority of the expectation,’ he said.


The post Manhattan officials hoping to reopen eastbound Bluemont traffic by summer as hotel project nears completion appeared first on News Radio KMAN.