- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - The Auburn City Council voted Tuesday night to award a $2.1 million bid to Bailey-Harris Construction Co. for the Toomer’s Corner intersection improvements project, which is projected to be completed this August.

Construction, which is slated to begin on April 20 following Auburn University’s A-Day game, will cause the intersection to be closed for two months this summer, forcing drivers to find alternate routes to navigate downtown.

“The intent was to start as soon after A-Day as we possibly could,” said Auburn City Manager Charlie Duggan.

Duggan pointed out that there were only two bids for construction — both of which came in higher than the $1.6 million the city was hoping for.

“We do feel that we had two very responsible bidders that could do the work, and the bids are very close,” Duggan said.

The project will involve adding brick pavers and seat walls on the city’s three corners of the intersection to match those already in place on the university’s corner, and raising the elevation on all four corners of the intersection while creating a raised central plaza in the middle of the intersection. LED lighting improvements are also planned for the intersection, as well as the replacement of the painted tiger paw in the center of the intersection with a permanent concrete paver-inlaid tiger paw, among other improvements.

As downtown merchants have expressed concern for how construction will affect their businesses throughout the construction this summer — a time when these businesses already experience a slowdown in customer traffic — Duggan said the city is looking at options for a comprehensive parking plan to adopt during the construction to alleviate parking that may be displaced and to encourage customers to keep shopping downtown.

“We are going to attempt to do everything we can to help the downtown businesses during this period,” Duggan said.

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Information from: Opelika-Auburn News, http://www.oanow.com/

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