Throughout the summer there will be road construction on and around the UA campus. According to an email sent to students on May 23, the construction will include University Boulevard west of the strip and east of Queen City Avenue and University Boulevard between Hackberry Lane and Butler field. Ninth Street has opened for easier access to the Bryant Conference Center, Bryant Museum and PNC Bank, according to the email.
Tim Leopard, the University’s associate vice president for construction, said the first segment of Peter Bryce Boulevard has opened, but construction is still ongoing. Leopard said this road will run from Jack Warner Parkway to the Bryce Campus and then to Shelby Hall. The University and the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) have provided funding for this project along with the construction along University Boulevard, he said.
Leopard said summer is the best time for these projects in order to lessen the effect on the campus community.
“Our least trafficked period is the summer, and we always try to execute work at a time that minimizes the impact to the campus community so summer is a good time to do that…The weather is more conducive [for construction,]” he said. “So, you know, we can get out there, and we don’t have as much worry about rain.”
Leopard also said that he understood the construction along University Boulevard might be an inconvenience, but it was necessary to work on it this summer in order to impact as few students as possible.
“I’m sure it’s an inconvenience not to be able to drive on through the heart of the campus, but again we had to look at a time that would minimize [the impact on] the fewest number of students,” Leopard said. “But, we think with our detour signage, and all the communication that we have done, we hope the people have been able to plan around it.”
An inconvenience is precisely what the construction has been for Marion Reed, the program assistant at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). OLLI is located in the Bryant Conference Center, just a block away from the construction on University Boulevard.
“I live in the 35406 zone, so it has affected me a lot,” she said. “I have had to change the way I come into the office.”
Similarly, Logan Black, a junior majoring in history and political science and a student assistant at OLLI, said the construction has affected him as well.
“[The construction] did kind of mess with me at first…my apartment is right behind Publix on the Strip, so, usually I would take University [Boulevard] everyday to get home basically,” Black said. “But, now I have to take Bryant [Drive] and kind of go down [and] take a turn on 12th Avenue.”
Black also said that he understands that it’s better to work on the roads now than during the school year.
“It’s not too big of an issue,” he said. “But, I do think it is good that they are doing it during the summer because if it was during the school year it would be really bad. It would be chaotic.”
Leopard is hopeful that the construction has given people a chance to familiarize themselves with the Crimson Ride system.
“We would like to minimize vehicular traffic through the core campus whenever we can,” Leopard said. “We would like [for] people to be using the Crimson Ride, and the Crimson Ride system is open this summer…Hopefully this is an opportunity for people to get to know Crimson Ride.”
To view a map of the construction, visit wayfinding.ua.edu.