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Arlington Celebrates Completion of Abram Street Project in Downtown

City, community, and businesses leaders gathered Friday to celebrate the transformative Abram Street Rebuild through Downtown—a final milestone that also marks the completion of the largest street rebuild in Arlington’s history.

Downtown is the fourth and final section of the voter-approved $50 million Abram Street Rebuild, which started at the Grand Prairie city limits east of SH 360 in July 2014 and has progressed west to Cooper Street over the past six years. In all, nearly seven miles of one of Arlington’s major thoroughfares and the gateway to the heart of the city was rebuilt as part of the City Council’s priority to Enhance Regional Mobility.

Since March 2018, the Department of Public Works and Transportation has been working to transform the section of Abram between Cooper and Collins streets. The $26 million project brought much-needed roadway and utilities improvements, additional on-street parking, enhanced landscaping and pedestrian amenities such as benches and LED lighting designed to create a more vibrant, welcoming atmosphere for Downtown shoppers, diners, and visitors.

“Abram Street is one of the major gateways into The American Dream City … but it’s much more than that. It also provides access to the nearby world-class Entertainment District, Downtown’s state-designated Cultural District and of course, The University of Texas at Arlington,” Mayor Jeff Williams said. “And this project was a team effort all the way. Arlington is always stronger when we work together … and this project is a terrific example of what we can accomplish as a community when we dream big and buy into the same vision.”

Not all improvements are readily visible to visitors, Public Works and Transportation Director Keith Brooks said. The final phase also included necessary improvements to the water, sewer, and drainage infrastructure, as well as the relocation and installation of more than 77,000 linear feet of conduit/cables for electricity, communications, fiber optics, traffic signals, and irrigation lines. All of which combined with the street-level improvements will make it easier and safer to travel to and through Downtown, strengthen our public infrastructure, and enhance the quality of life for those who live, work, play and learn here.

Those who visit Downtown for concerts, festivals and other gatherings will be able to enjoy the new public plaza created on Abram Street between City Hall and Founders Plaza, a public park that is also home to Levitt Pavilion Arlington. Retractable bollards have been installed so that the City can temporarily close Abram between Center and Pecan streets to vehicle traffic and create a pedestrian friendly gathering space. The City also enhanced electrical capabilities to provide support for the growing number of outdoor events held at the park, which is part of the state-designated Downtown Arlington Cultural District.

Additionally, a public art component between City Hall and the Levitt Pavilion will be unveiled later this summer.

Dr. Ignacio Nunez, one of Friday's speakers, serves as the City Council representative for District 5, which includes Arlington landmarks such as the Downtown Cultural Arts District, The University of Texas at Arlington and General Motors. The Abram Street Rebuild runs through the northern portion of Dr. Nunez’s council district.

“This area will be our town square and Abram the corridor that draws all of us into it. This corridor and Downtown and the Levitt Pavilion and City Hall—this is the beating heart of Arlington,” Dr. Nunez said. “It is vibrant, it is culturally strong, and it is economically sound.”

The City and the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation collaborated throughout the two-year project to keep residents, drivers and Downtown businesses updated and to answer concerns about construction impacts. The MyAbram campaign included updates on the City’s Abram Street Rebuild website and social media, the DAMC’s website and social media, and in-person meetings with businesses and other stakeholders. MyArlingtonTV also launched the Downtown Arlington: Open for Business video marketing project, which highlighted 15 businesses in the construction zone and encouraged customers to keep supporting their favorite restaurants, shops and service providers.

Maggie Campbell, president and CEO of the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation, and her team were instrumental in helping the City keep Downtown businesses and visitors informed about the progress of the transformative Abram Street Rebuild. Throughout this vital rebuild, the corporation hosting regular meetings so that all Downtown businesses, property owners and stakeholder could ask questions, share their concerns and celebrate project milestones.

“This shared vision for a walkable, vibrant downtown neighborhood that can be everyone’s neighborhood is slowly being realized, slowly but surely,” Campbell said. “This partnership is due in large part to the strong continued support of our partners, the City of Arlington and The University of Texas at Arlington.”

These improvements are being noticed far beyond the borders of The American Dream City. Recently, the Texas Chapter of the American Public Works Association named the Abram Street Rebuild in Downtown as its 2020 Transportation Project of the Year in the $25 million to $75 million category.

This award is given to projects that demonstrate good construction management techniques, awareness of the need for a good overall safety program during construction, means of improving relations between the department and the public, environmental awareness, and the ability to overcome unusual adverse conditions.

Reprint of story by Susan Schrock, Office of Communication, City of Arlington. Originally published on October 9, 2020.