Both Lewis County and the city of Centralia are preparing to close off sections of Borst Avenue to through traffic, as work on a long-awaited improvement project begins in earnest this summer. 

“We’re pushing the contractor to finish earlier than what they have scheduled, and this is one mechanism to help them facilitate that,” said Lewis County Public Works director Josh Metcalf. “The idea is that they’ll actually finish up with that before or close to when school starts. C&R (Tractor and Landscaping) has told us this will help them get to our request.”

On Monday, Lewis County commissioners voted to close the section of Borst Avenue that is a county road, effective Friday and lasting until Dec. 11. The road will remain open to residents who live on the street. The county’s vote will close the street between Eshom Road and North Scheuber Road.

“We want to close it to minimize the traffic and facilitate their work,” said Martin Roy, the county’s real estate services director. “We’d like to just close little portions at a time, but their work is likely to jump around.”

County commissioner Edna Fund clarified that school buses will be allowed through if work is ongoing when the school year starts in the fall. 

Meanwhile, Centralia is planning to close the city-owned portions of the road as well, extending from the county closure to Johnson Road. Public Works director Kim Ashmore said the city’s closure will also take effect Friday, and won’t require a vote from the city council.

“There will be two detour routes, and also local traffic will be allowed to the Borst construction zone,” he said. 

The $3 million project will move two existing lanes between Centralia Middle School and Centralia High School, adding a new walkway and drainage system to make the route more pedestrian friendly. Crews were seen along the road Tuesday afternoon, with flaggers guiding traffic  through single-lane areas where workers were busy tearing up the sidewalk.

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