Springfield Street near Air Force Museum faces $5.4M ‘road diet’ for safety

A stretch of Springfield Street near the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is slated for a dramatic multi-million dollar reconstruction in coming years, city of Riverside officials said.

City planners are asking for public input during a meeting next month to gain feedback about the $5.46 million project’s design.

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The two-phase project would reconstruct Springfield Street — currently a four-lane street — to a two-lane road with a center two-way left-turn lane. The three lanes would be flanked by bicycle lanes on each side.

Phase I of the Springfield Street reconstruction will extend from Harshman Road to the city’s east corporate limits. Phase II will extend from Harshman Road to the city’s west corporate limits.

The goal is not only to rebuild the deteriorating road, but to decrease speed and increase safety as well.

“We have an issue of speed with the four lanes,” said Brock Taylor, Riverside’s director of planning and program management. “Bringing those lanes down will slow that traffic down.”

At peak rush-hour, the changes are estimated to add 22 seconds of travel time, Taylor said.

Such a reconstruction — effectively reworking the road from four lanes to three and adding bike lanes — is called a “road diet.” Road diets are recommended on streets with daily traffic under 20,000 vehicles, Taylor said. Currently, Springfield Street sees under 8,000 vehicles per day.

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As planned, the project would close off Northcliff Drive to Springfield Street for safety, Taylor said.

“The crash data shows there have been some very severe crashes” at the Northcliff intersection, Taylor said.

Additionally, the plan calls for the Norman Boulevard and Springfield Street intersection to be re-constructed as a Norman Boulevard cul-de-sac. Planning documents state the “extreme skewed alignment” of the intersection limits the line of sight for drivers, and that the “proximity to Memorial Park and Old Harshman Road intersection makes the intersection not prudent.”

No major realignment is expected at the intersection of Springfield Street and Old Harshman Road, in part due to cost. Taylor said a realignment of the intersection would, at minimum, add about $650,000 to the project.

Federal and state funds will cover approximately $954,000 of the estimated $3.06 million cost of Phase I and an estimated $1.91 million of the $2.4 million cost of Phase II.

The remaining $2.59 million will be paid by the city, which continues to seek additional dollars through other grants and funds.

The public meeting regarding the program will be held from 6-8 p.m. March 22, at 5200 Springfield Street. For more details, call the city at 937-233-1801.

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