Access to some UTEP streets will be limited temporarily in March 2017 as one campus project ends and another begins, but University leaders and contractors have worked to minimize any inconvenience.
Work crews plan to lay asphalt along Hawthorne Street at three intersections – Rim Road, Schuster Avenue and Crosby Avenue – to complete the main work for the Hawthorne Street Pedestrian-Bike Enhancement Project.
The Hawthorne closure will stretch from Rim to Crosby and last from approximately 5:30 p.m. through 5 a.m. starting Wednesday, March 8, through Friday, March 10.
A lengthier closure is planned from about 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 10, through 5 p.m. Saturday, March 11. There will be no access to the Mike Loya Academic Services Building (V-1) parking lot or from Rim to Hawthorne toward Centennial Plaza during these hours.
The enhancement project began in October 2016. When completed, the street will be a continuation of Hawthorne on campus, with wider sidewalks, ADA-approved ramps, native and drought-resistant trees and shrubs, an irrigation system and additional lighting. Hawthorne will have one traffic lane in each direction that can be co-used by bicyclists. The V-1 parking lot will have one wider driveway.
The project’s goal was to make that campus entrance safer, more efficient and aesthetically pleasing.
The second project along a portion of Wiggins Way will start before the last of the Hawthorne asphalt has cooled down.
Crews from Texas Gas Service will erect chain-link fences on March 11 to enclose an area from the entrance to the IC-1 parking lot at the Administration Building to Electric Road next to the El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center. Lots IC-1 and IC-17 next to Bell Hall will remain accessible.
The University will keep one lane open in each direction March 11 for north-south traffic to provide a passage while the asphalt work is done at Rim and Hawthorne. There will be no parking along the Wiggins construction area on that day. The whole section of the street will be fenced off Sunday, March 12, for the remainder of the project that is expected to last nine to 14 days.
Utility workers plan to reroute a 4-inch gas line to the street from its current location under the planned site for the highly anticipated Interdisciplinary Research Building at the southeast corner of University Avenue and Sun Bowl Drive.
Campus officials asked that the work be done during the UTEP’s spring break, March 13-17, to lessen the impact on staff, students and faculty. They also have encouraged vendors who serve the buildings along Wiggins to make their deliveries early before the business day begins. Pedestrians will be able to use sidewalks on both sides of the street during the project.
Drivers with ADA parking permits may use any open spaces in IC-Orange or IC-Red lots. They also advised those with permits for IC-4 and IC-15 to use the Rim Road entrance. IC permit holders who regularly park on Rim, Wiggins, University, or Electric and Dormitory roads will be allowed to park in the Sun Bowl or Schuster parking garages.
The plan is to pave the street with concrete and then add an asphalt overlay during the summer.