Sometimes making a better place involves construction. Sometimes it takes destruction.
It'll be the latter over spring break. Crews will rip down the Levering Hall terrace extension that forms a low-slung bridge over Bowman Drive, the road on the west side of the Homewood campus.
Here's the background:
The new Homewood master plan envisions a campus core that is safer and more pleasant for the thousands of pedestrians who cross it every day. The Pepsi trucks and delivery rigs that used to line up between Levering and Garland or rumble down the road in front of the AMRs are gone, or soon will be.
But deliveries still need to go somewhere. Without them, students and staff go hungry, photocopiers run out of paper and research labs can't get critical supplies.
So the plan calls for diverting trucks to the periphery of campus. A new loading dock was built last summer behind the AMRs and an existing dock at Jenkins Hall was expanded.
Eventually, a new screened-off delivery area will also be built at the southwest corner of Levering Hall. That will make it possible to rip out the roadway between the south face of Levering and the north side of Garland and replace it with a pedestrian-only mall. That mall will also serve the new Clark and Hodson halls.
The problem: getting 14-foot trucks to and from that new delivery area. The way is now blocked by the Levering Hall terrace, which forms a low-clearance bridge--less than 13 feet tall--over Bowman Drive.
So the terrace needs to come down, and the best time to do it is over spring break, when traffic is relatively light. On Saturday, March 17, Bowman Drive will close to all vehicles and pedestrians from the Greenhouse south to Merryman, said Mike Sullivan, project manager for the university's Capital Projects Office. The current plan is to keep the road closed all week, until the morning of Sunday, March 25. If it does reopen any earlier, it will be for limited use.
Signs and barriers will be up to keep people out of the demolition area. For their own safety, pedestrians should not try to circumvent the barriers. Find another north-south route to use while the road is closed.
Even after the road reopens, crews on scaffolding will be at work to repair the west face of Levering where the terrace has come down, reinstall the railing and replace terrace pavers. Project managers expect to allow at least one lane of traffic through the area until repairs are done, around May 1.
Here's how the traffic pattern will work beginning sometime in 2002, after completion of the Clark and Hodson hall projects and the area between Levering and Garland: Trucks will approach Levering from the south and west, entering from Wyman Park Drive and swinging behind Clark and Hodson. They will make their deliveries to the new drop-off at Levering and then depart to the north, leaving campus at San Martin Drive.
This traffic flow will also ease problems at the newly expanded Jenkins dock. With the terrace down, large trucks will be able to approach that dock from the south and exit to the north, eliminating the need for a difficult three-point turn.
Anyone with questions about the Levering Terrace demolition can contact Sullivan at 410-516-8064.