Following the June 1, 2011 tornado the City of Springfield embarked on planning and recovery studies along the entire tornado corridor. The City of Springfield then initiated the “Rebuild Springfield” process in July 2011. The impacted areas were divided into three districts. District 1 includes Downtown and the South End. District 2 is made up of Six Corners, Upper Hill, Old Hill, and Forest Park. District 3 includes Sixteen Acres and East Forest Park. Central Street falls in the boundary of District 2. Central Street will be relocated and widened to create a Central Street corridor. The existing section of Hickory Street will become part of Central Street. Hickory Street runs adjacent to the Ruth Elizabeth playground and is currently a narrow one-way road. In order to accommodate 2-way traffic the roadway is to be widened.
The DPW Engineering Department working with their design consultants determined that the best alignment was to widen the roadway more on the north side of the existing roadway. The project limits were also expanded to Pine Street to the west and Sheffield Street to the east. These sections of road will include pavement restoration, sidewalks and accessible curb ramps, as well as curbing improvements with no alignment changes. The main goal of the project is to create a continuous aesthetic corridor. The project will include two new traffic signals which will be added to the intersection at Allen Street, Walnut Street, and Hickory Street. The project will also include street lighting, bike lanes, as well as pedestrian crossing improvements to incorporate the elements of Springfield’s new complete streets policy.