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The new and improved Business 50 West may be here sooner than expected

The new and improved Business 50 West in Apache Flats may be here sooner than expected.

Cole County engineers said they are running about two weeks ahead of schedule on the project.

The project will add a new drainage system, sidewalks, a center lane- and shoulders to the road.

Engineers said the $3.5 million project is ahead of schedule because of good weather and a little good luck.

They say everything has gone remarkably smoothly since the project first began in the beginning of the year.

“Things are going really well. Weather has been pretty good, cooperating for us. Even when we’ve had some rain, it hasn’t really hurt us too bad as far as progress on the project,” said Cole County engineer, Eric Landwehr.

And engineers say traffic really hasn’t been bad either. The road is torn up and there are cones everywhere, but so far- drivers have been able to maneuver their way through the construction zone.

“Traffic has been really good. We’ve been pretty good about getting information out to the businesses and the people that live out in the area that travel through here daily,” said Landwehr.

Owner of Tools N’ Things on Business 50 West, Michael Balance says he has seen a drop in business since construction began.

“It’s been very interesting. It’s a slow time and everything like that anyway, but it makes it more challenging to try to find ways to get in here,” said Balance.

Things will likely stay difficult for a bit longer as more closures are expected next week.

Engineers said they are doing their best to minimize the challenge through constant communication about what will be blocked off and when.

“Through email and communication, that’s the main thing. Letting people know what’s happening before it happens and not during the time that is happening, so they can prepare for that ahead of time,” said Landwehr.

Construction is now expected to be completed by mid-December.

Engineers say the project is currently halfway through the first of three phases.

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