UF’s Gale Lemerand Drive will be under construction for the Summer semester to improve underground utilities for the university.
Dustin Jackson, UF’s director of utilities and energy services, said the construction began May 3 and will be completed in four phases.
The first phase is currently underway at the intersection of Stadium Road and Gale Lemerand Drive. Jackson said the university has several different utility products, like pipelines and steam holes, that cross through that intersection, and it is vital to maintain those utilities to prevent future damage and account for the future growth of the university.
“When we go through and do these projects, we upgrade the pipes to make sure we have the capacity to serve those future loads when they do arrive,” Jackson said.
The improvements to this intersection include an installation of a new chilled-water manhole and piping, a new steam manhole and an upgraded traffic signal, Jackson said.
He said the area has been experiencing some minor failures because of old pipes.
“We’re trying to minimize the impact to the UF community,” Jackson said.
Since the area is already under construction, he said the university will also be improving the sidewalks, curb ramps and bus facilities around the intersection.
Within the next three phases, construction will move south along Gale Lemerand Drive. Jackson said he believes construction is running on schedule, and the intersection will reopen at the end of June as planned.
While some may find the construction on the intersection a hindrance, Jackson said choosing to complete this project over Summer was the best option, since there is less traffic and fewer students on campus.
The four phases of the project are expected to be completed by August 14.
Alexander Tyler, a 19-year-old UF political science sophomore, said he agrees that having the construction over Summer inconveniences fewer students.
“If they have to do it, now would be the best time,” he said.