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University finalizes Juniper Road plan

Amanda Michaels | Monday, September 27, 2004

With its plans to close Juniper Road at Douglas and realign Edison Road approved June 8 by the St. Joseph County Council, Notre Dame is focusing on finalizing designs, dates and costs for the campus roads project.

Assuming design approval, phase one of the project is tentatively scheduled to begin in April 2005 and wrap up by the end of that calendar year, according to the most aggressive timetable designed, said vice president for business operations Jim Lyphout. This first section of construction involves demolishing a large portion of the existing Edison Road and realigning it to swing out farther south of campus as well as beginning work on a new north-south corridor where it meets Ivy Road.

Phase two of the project calls for work to be completed on the portion of the new road that runs parallel to Ivy by August 2006 and the improvement to the section of Douglas from the new road to Old Juniper road by December of that year.

According to plans detailed by University architect Douglas Marsh at an April 27 community meeting, the new road would begin off Edison west of Ivy Road and merge into Ivy between Vaness Street and Dunn Road. Moving west, it would intersect Bulla Road at a stoplight and run behind the Fischer Graduate Residences, meeting Douglas Road at a traffic roundabout.

“This four-lane north-south corridor will be much faster than [the] current route through campus with stoplights,” Lyphout said. “It will be a better road and a faster road.”

Juniper will not close until all the alternative routes are in place – January 2007 at the earliest. The road will be completely razed and replaced with green space and new construction sites, possibly including two new residence halls, said Lyphout.

Lyphout estimated costs between $22 and $23 million, but said numbers were not firm. He also confirmed the University has located a funding source for the project.

Though the current football season has just begun, there are concerns about how the new construction will affect parking and traffic situations for tailgaters over the next few years.

Lyphout said that under current designs, the new north-south corridor will run through tailgating lots in the grassy area south of Edison Road and will make them unusable.

“I don’t think we’ve had any discussion yet if there are other spots we can use as substitutes, but we know there is more than adequate parking north of Douglas in a huge lot that is never full,” he said. “The more prime tailgating position will just be moved further from the stadium.”

The discussion process between the University and the affected community has been described as a “model situation,” as both parties made adjustments to their positions in accordance with new concerns, said Lyphout.

The campus road project grew mainly out of safety concerns, as construction on the northern area of campus promises an increase in pedestrian traffic.

It is also part of the campus master plan that places limits on how far the campus will expand in the quest for development.

“We have a blue line that tells us how far we can spread outwards, because we don’t want a sprawling, non-walkable campus,” Lyphout said. “We will continue to keep all new construction within the blue line, and to maximize that space, we had to eliminate Juniper Road.”