MLK Jr. Underpass Prepped and Primed to Open

In less than 24 hours, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard will open up to drivers, it's was one of the most popular roads traveled before closing a year and a half ago.

Business owner Dave Valencourt, who has a shirt printing shop, say he's seen a decline in the number of passing customers since that closure.

"Since they closed the road, there's been less traffic, less congestion, less people down here," said Valencourt, "It's less traveled."

But now that is all expected to change -- the MLK. Underpass is slated to open up tomorrow, after more than 18 months of construction.

The city closed the roadway to construct the underpass, allowing drivers to drive under tracks where trains are passing.

It is the second underpass built in the city in the last four years.

Prior to that, only one pass had existed.

Now drivers have three options, not just the one on MLK, but the underpass on Lincoln Avenue, and another on Walnut Avenue.

It not only makes traveling more efficient for drivers and trains, but also first responders."

"With trains blocking traffic, you had one alternative, and that was the Walnut Avenue underpass," said city spokesperson Randy Beehler, "It could have and did severely impact response times, but now there's other options."

Valencourt says the past year and a half have been difficult for his business, but expects things to be on the upturn starting tomorrow.

"I do see benefits, there should be more traffic, more people seeing my shop," said Valencourt, "That usually leads to more business."

City officials will hold a ceremony at the underpass tomorrow -- that will begin at 11 a.m.

The project cost just under $11 million.

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