Road construction underway in front of Houston Elementary in Mt. Airy

Road construction began this week on West Allens Lane in front of Henry H. Houston Elementary School in Mt. Airy.

The Philadelphia Water Department is working in the daytime from Bryan Street to Rural Lane to replace aging underground water mains.

The Water Department held off working in front of the school till the summer break. School ended June 14

The big picture 

The work is part of a project—spanning from Wayne Avenue to Germantown Avenue—that began back in October 2011. Earlier, many residents were caught off guard by the detours and complained to the local neighborhood association.

First was the complaint of congestion.

WMAN held a meeting in February where neighbors voiced complaints about increased traffic on side streets in conjunction with lack of an adequate notice and appropriate detours.

Second was the fear of how bad things could get if road crews blocked off West Allens Lane in front of Henry H. Houston Elementary School during the spring semester. A meeting was held in the spring to negotiate the timeline.

The Water Department quickly made changes by adding better placed detour signs and postponing roadwork in front of the school until after it was no longer in session.

Residents were much happier with the way the next period of road construction was handled, WMAN executive director Marilyn Cohen said.

What to expect

The current work on West Allens Lane will have two phases. The first will be closing the section of Allens Lane from Bryan Street to Rural Lane to all but local traffic.

The second portion will leave Rural Lane to Cresheim Road closed.

The start of the work is in the intersection of Bryan Street and Allens Lane. There’s only a small portion of the intersection that’s clear, but workers are directing traffic as needed.

Water Department spokesman John Digiulio said the section between Bryan Street and Cresheim Road is set to be done around September. But the entire project, he said, is set to be finished in March of 2013. After the section of Allens Lane from Cresheim Road to Bryan Street, crews will be doing some general patchwork to the area.

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