Preparation is under way for turning First and Second streets into two-way thoroughfares in downtown.
City crews began working last week to upgrade water lines under the pavement, a first step leading to two-way traffic by this fall or early next year, Jack LaRochelle, city public works director, said Friday.
It makes sense to do the water work now rather than after the streets are repaved and restriped for the change in traffic flows, LaRochelle said.
The City Council approved the return of two-week streets in downtown last year after merchants and property owners said it would help businesses, and public works did a study, which said it would work.
Before First and Second become two-way between Main and Jefferson streets, the city will be removing several traffic lights at Randolph Street intersections and reconstructing curbing at Main Street, LaRochelle said.
Two-way traffic may start late this year if the weather cooperates or next spring, he said.