GREENFIELD — The next phase of the Potts Ditch relocation project will close a section of a major road through the city for up to a month.
Starting July 27, State Street will be closed at Grant Street just north of the post office, and street parking in the area will be restricted. This phase of the project, estimated to last three to four weeks as crews reroute the new ditch under State Street, will detour traffic away from downtown and limit parking in the already congested area.
A new tunnel is being constructed for Potts Ditch — a waterway that runs underground when it reaches the downtown district — along Grant, East, North and Spring streets in downtown Greenfield. The project began in early fall and is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
City officials have issued notices to residents advising them of alternate routes on Apple and Franklin streets in hopes of easing the congestion during the latest stage of construction.
Access to and from Grant Street will be closed at State Street, but all other intersections, businesses and homes along State Street will remain accessible.
Traffic traveling north or south on State Street will need to detour away from downtown, and residents living on Fifth, Pennsylvania and North streets will be inconvenienced, as parking space on those streets will be limited during the construction, officials say.
Beginning at 11 p.m. July 26, drivers won’t be able to park along the south side of Fifth Street from State to Pennsylvania streets, the east side of Pennsylvania Street from 5th Street to U.S. 40 and on the north side of North Street from State to Pennsylvania streets.
The ongoing project already has Grant Street closed, limiting access to the post office on State Street. Customers should continue entering the post office parking lot from the south.
The project, the largest the city has undertaken in recent years, is expected to curtail flooding downtown, which has been prone to high water for years.
Officials are preparing to start the seventh phase of the project and say despite a few bumps in the beginning, the project is progressing well.
Greenfield Police Department Chief John Jester said it’s imperative for residents and visitors to obey the road closure and parking restrictions for everyone’s safety.
Restricting parking on city streets surrounding State Street will allow emergency vehicles to get around the street closure if necessary and make way for confused semi drivers to maneuver their vehicles should they miss the detour signs, Jester said.
“We’ve got to be able to get those trucks through,” he said. “It is going to be an inconvenience, but, hopefully, if we give out enough information in advanced fashion, people will understand.”
Mayor Chuck Fewell added it’s essential residents know about the street closure to prepare ahead of time and use the detours.
Officials advise drivers traveling north on State Street to detour west on Main Street to Franklin Street and then take Franklin Street north to New Road before coming back to State Street.
Those traveling south on State Street should detour east on New Road, take Apple Street south and turn west on Main Street.
City engineer Karla Vincent encouraged residents to use Franklin and Apple Streets and to avoid downtown altogether.
The construction on State Street will leave the intersection impassable, she said.
“There will be a hole in the road,” she said.
Fewell said city officials have worked through the duration of the project to keep residents up-to-date on closures and other important information regarding the project.
But they canceled weekly meetings for residents to meet with the construction company and project manager, saying the meetings weren’t well-attended. Residents can contact city hall with questions or concerns regarding the project by calling the mayor’s office at 477-4300.
“We have a plan in place, and we want people to abide by it,” he said. “But if something’s not working, let us know.”
Residents can contact city hall with questions or concerns regarding the Potts Ditch relocation project by calling the mayor’s office at 317-477-4300.