Campus construction continues; many projects wrapping up soon

Aug. 26, 2014

by Käri Knutson

State Street Mall

Workers use heavy construction equipment in May to begin demolition of the tired-looking, concrete streetscape in the 700-800 blocks of State Street Mall. The project is scheduled to finish in October.

Photo:

Students will be welcomed back by the familiar sight of construction as the fall semester begins, but some of the dust should soon clear.

North Park Street is scheduled to be opened up to full vehicular traffic either Aug. 27 or 28. It has been closed while work has been done at the bottom of Bascom Hill to improve the pedestrian crossing. A new pedestrian crosswalk was poured over the weekend, and asphalt approaches to the new crosswalk are being completed this week. Once open, North Park may be down to a single lane while nearby work is being completed.

“The city’s contractors are working hard to get everything done,” says Gary Brown, director of campus planning and landscape architecture. “Things are coming along.”

The new design will feature trees and landscaping, new seating areas, a raised pedestrian crosswalk at North Park Street and areas that can be used as gathering places. 

Once completed, there will be a new grand staircase going down to Park Street connecting to the newly renovated State Street Mall rather than two separate stairs north and south.

“The idea is to make it safer by having the one crossing instead of two,” Brown says.

Stone facing on Bascom Hill’s retaining walls is currently being scheduled, although the work should be completed by early September.

Until the new walks and stairs are open on Bascom Hill, detour routes have been established to the east via the bridge over Park Street to the Mosse Humanities building. This route will remain open as it has in the past for pedestrians to move down the south sidewalk on Bascom Hill, up and over Park Street, and east toward State Street. An accessible detour route guides people south between the Law School building and Music Hall toward the sidewalk on Lathrop Drive and then east toward Park Street.

The north sidewalk on Bascom Hill also has a detour to the north toward Science Hall that guides pedestrians to the north toward Memorial Union and Helen C. White Hall.

The improvements on Bascom Hill are part of the City of Madison’s State Street-Library Mall construction project, which started in May and is scheduled to finish at the end of October. The new design will feature trees and landscaping, new seating areas, a raised pedestrian crosswalk at North Park Street and areas that can be used as gathering places. The two-block area will also be given new lighting and will accommodate utility improvements. (More information on the final design plan can be found here.)

State Street Mall design

A design sketch of the State Street-Library Mall project from January displays new features — a grand staircase, more seating and updated lighting — from the point of view facing west toward Bascom Hill.

Photo: City of Madison

State Street from Park to North Lake Street has a center walkway currently open for pedestrian use. As work is completed in the area, the city will continue to open more pedestrian routes through the site. Fenced and protected access to Memorial Library, Library Mall, the University Club and Humanities will continue to be available through the construction zone.

In other construction news, access to the Chazen Museum of Art will be temporarily disrupted due to the replacement of pavers on East Campus Mall. Pedestrian access to the main door via East Campus Mall will be blocked at least through Sept. 16.

Between now and Sept. 2, visitors are directed to use the walkway on the west side of the lawn adjacent to the Humanities Building, and then to use the sidewalk encircling the Elvehjem Building to access the main entrance of either building.

From Sept. 2-16, a temporary, solid footpath will be put down over the grass between the main entrance and the sidewalk directly due south.

Access to the Chazen Museum of Art will be temporarily disrupted due to the replacement of pavers on East Campus Mall.

After Sept. 16, the fencing perimeter should move up the mall north of the main entrance and visitors will again be able to access the front door via the mall.

All access to the drop-off zone and Lot 107 will be blocked through Sept. 2. Faculty and staff with offices in the Elvehjem Building and who are permitted to park in Lot 107 have been given permission to park in bagged stalls in Lots 3 (Extension) and 109 (west of Humanities), or in the museum’s dock area. This does not apply to visitors.

People with disabilities can be dropped off from Park Street in Lot 109 and enter via the Elvehjem Building while the drop-off zone is blocked.

Commercial bus patrons should contact their carrier with any questions. Tour buses should consult the Transportation Services website for parking information.

Portions of East Campus Mall between the main entrance of the Chazen and Pres House will be temporary blocked at least until Oct. 10, the scheduled project completion date.