Wright Street, long a one-way street dumping out onto Glenn Avenue, was recently converted to a two-way road connecting Glenn and Magnolia avenues.
The road will feature left and right turn lanes that empty out onto both Magnolia and Glenn.
Converting to a two-way road will have a positive impact on traffic in the area, especially when the planned public parking deck on Wright Street opens, said Alison Frazier, engineering services director for the city.
"It also gives us additional options for students leaving 191 (College) or West & Wright," she said.
The city has worked to upgrade the area for years, starting with streetscape improvements in 2017 that brought wider, ADA-compliant sidewalks and pedestrian lighting.
Wright Street was repaved, restriped and converted to a two-way road last week. The project isn't quite 100 percent finished, though, said Frazier.
"The majority of the work is done," she said. "There’s still a little concrete work to do up near Sky Bar, and we have to reset the parking kiosks and paint the numbers for the parking spaces that are left on the west side."
The number of parking spaces was substantially reduced to accommodate two-way traffic. The remaining parking spaces will be metered at the same rate as other public spaces downtown, costing $1 hour with a two-hour parking limit.
In other construction news, significant traffic disruptions are expected to begin in February when Phase 2 of construction starts for the Culinary Science Center.
According to City Council meeting materials, Auburn University anticipates closing Thach Avenue between Gay and South College streets from March to July while utility work is completed, allowing access to only local traffic for the Auburn First Presbyterian Church. Pedestrians will still be able to access the sidewalk on the north side of Thach during this time.
Scott Cummings, executive director of Development Services, said the city has worked extensively with Facilities staff at the university to mitigate the impact of construction, including holding off on closing Thach Avenue until after the annual Mardi Gras Parade takes place on Feb. 22. The extensive work to utilities by the university will also allow the city to complete its own projects.
"We're going to do some utility projects we wanted done," said City Manager Jim Buston.
The university's phasing plan also shows that it will have one lane of traffic in both north- and south-bound directions open at all times during construction, except for temporary closures to move equipment and materials.
The City Council voted to amend its Memorandum of Understanding with Auburn University at its meeting Tuesday to include the plans for lane and sidewalk closures.
Construction of the Culinary Science Center is expected to last until the spring of 2022.
"We expect this to be a lengthy construction process," said Buston.