After four years of discussions, the Ben Wilson Street corridor improvement project is hitting the pavement.
UHV President Bob Glenn said Wednesday that the contract has been approved by all those involved in the project, which includes University of Houston chancellors and city of Victoria officials.
“We’re now getting closer to working on the street,” Glenn said.
The project, which has been in discussion between UHV and the city since 2015, is in the early design stages and the city does not have a timeline of when construction on the street will begin, said Donald Reese, the public works director. The city, which is administering the project, does not yet have an architectural or engineering firm for the project, he said.
The Ben Wilson Street corridor improvement project includes reconstruction on the street to have three lanes instead of five, 8-foot-wide sidewalks and 20-foot medians. Glenn said once construction begins, the project between Sam Houston Drive and Red River Street could be completed by fall 2021 or spring 2022.
Before major construction begins, UHV students will see a temporary crosswalk system installed on Ben Wilson Street by the end of the year.
Glenn said Wednesday that the university is asking students to avoid crossing Ben Wilson Street and to use the university shuttle to travel from the campus to UHV University Commons, the new student center and library.
University Commons is located across Ben Wilson Street from the main UHV campus and is the first of several UHV construction projects to finish recently.
“We have told them we really rather they not cross the street on foot,” Glenn said.
Matt Alexander, director of the capital projects and construction at UHV, said the temporary crosswalk system is called the HAWK crosswalk system, which does not light up until a pedestrian pushes a button to activate the system.
“Our goal is to have it up before the winter break,” Alexander said.
The crosswalk is to ensure student safety. The speed limit on Ben Wilson Street was lowered to 30 mph in anticipation of the street project. Officials said they would like drivers to adhere to the reduced speed limit.
The temporary crosswalk system will remain in place throughout the Ben Wilson Street project construction, he said.