With so many sheltering-in-place regulations implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, public works officials across the country are finding themselves ahead of schedule with important construction projects.
"One is with respect to just traffic volumes in general. We found that depending on the part of the city, traffic levels are down about 30 to 40 percent overall, and there are times during the middle of the day where it really feels just wide open," said City of Fresno Public Works Director Scott Mozier.
Mozier says of their roughly 80 projects currently underway, more than half are ahead of schedule. They even had a number of projects that were originally scheduled to be done at night, that have now been moved to the daytime.
One of those projects included the total reconstruction of a four-lane road that is close to a residential area and normally has high traffic volumes.
"Initially we were just planning on a lot of outreach, a lot of detours, just notifying the public to expect delays, take alternate roadways. But now, the public can use that roadway during the entire construction. No delays being experienced," said Mozier.
In Indianapolis, the Indiana Department of Transportation was able to completely shut down a major highway for 30 days so they could expedite a number of construction projects. Fewer drivers on the roads are clearing up normal roadblocks. Officials also say with school not in session, they're able to begin roadwork projects near schools that normally would have had to wait until the summer.
"It's a perfect opportunity to get that accomplished before things open up again," said Mozier.
Officials say this increased efficiency in projects is helping taxpayer dollars go further. Some even expect lower prices on construction projects over the next several months.