The arrival of more spring-like weather has kicked off construction on Highway 51 between Beloit and Janesville, a project that likely will hang around until at least August, a state Department of Transportation official says.

Crews started working April 11 on the stretch of road between the Highway 11 bypass on Janesville’s south side and Henry Avenue in Beloit.

Project Manager Jim Simpson said construction could be ongoing until October but might be finished as early as August.

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So far, crews have been resurfacing the bridge just south of West Sherman Road, installing loop detectors on traffic signals at multiple intersections and replacing curb ramps to make them compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, Simpson said.

Ensuing projects will include minor storm sewer modifications before crews mill off the existing pavement and install new pavement along the entire corridor, Simpson said.

The corridor will remain open to traffic for the duration of the project, but motorists will be limited to one lane in each direction, he said.

Rock Road Companies is the project’s contractor, and it bid $6.79 million, which Simpson said was higher than the DOT had originally estimated.

Highway 51, which is currently four lanes, will be condensed to three lanes at two locations: north of Henry Avenue to south of Cranston Road and north of County Q/Newark Road to the railroad track overpass.

That means it will have one lane each direction with a two-way left-turn lane in the center. Simpson said the change accommodates the volume of traffic currently on the corridor.

The remainder of the corridor will remain painted as is, he said.

“With the multiple access points, it allows people to make a left-turn movement without the concern of somebody coming up too quickly behind them,” Simpson said.

The entire corridor spans 7.8 miles, he said.

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