LAMPASAS — Residents and commuters should prepare for detours along the Fourth Street route to downtown.

The $3.2 million rehabilitation of the half-mile stretch of roadway started in October and will continue through December 2013 with intermittent road closures.

“Right now, we are working on storm drains as well as some utility work for the city,” said Texas Department of Transportation spokesperson Darah Waldrip. “Once that work is done, we can work on curbs and gutters after it’s reopened to traffic.”

Waldrip said traffic is currently closed off from the Sulphur Creek bridge to Hackberry Street and from Hackberry Street to the east side of Elm Street, and is expected to remain so until early January.

The project is split into 11 phases that will close only half the road at a time, allowing traffic to pass through, as in the Key Avenue project because there isn’t enough room, said Bart Fris, interim area engineer for the Brownwood area office.

“The storm sewer main line goes right down the middle of the street,” Fris said. “It’s not really fit to do half the road at a time. We thought it would be more advantageous to do it one box at a time. We can go get everything done at once. It helps with traffic safety through areas and saves a little money.”

TxDOT has partnered with the city of Lampasas to replace and upgrade water and wastewater lines as the crews rehabilitate Fourth Street, Fris said.

Crews are presently doing construction, including placing underground utilities, doing storm drain work and preparing to lay hot mix on a three-block stretch of the roadway. When the current work is complete, work will move on one block at a time.

While traffic cannot pass construction zones, alternate routes are marked to help motorists reach their destinations.

“We have the detour set up, but people who aren’t familiar with the area don’t know they can take a detour,” Fris said. “We’re trying to do the best we can to have traffic use a detour.”

In 2010, a traffic count study of Fourth Street found that about 5,200 cars per day used the street.