A stretch of road that has seen three fatal bike accidents in a two-year span will soon be getting a makeover.
Beginning next year, East Hartford's Burnside Avenue will go from four lanes across to two, allowing for bike lanes in each direction.
When all is said and done, the project will cover nearly all of Burnside Avenue starting at the intersection of Main Street, and will end at Mary Street, about a half a mile from the Manchester line.
The nearly three miles in between will have a dedicated lane for pedestrians and bicyclists.
"I buy my son a bike and I don't let him leave the back yard," said resident Alric Freeman. "I'm scared. Even to walk down the street. I'm scared to let my kids walk down Burnside."
Crashes have become an all too familiar sign along the road.
Three bicyclists have been hit and killed in crashes involving cars.
"There's just too many deaths in a short period of time," said East Hartford resident Thomas Ogar.
Now the state Department of Transportation said the time is right to make changes to the traffic patterns.
They're calling the project a "road diet" and will take the two directions going each way down to one. That will allow the five-foot-wide bike lane on either side, and it's something bicyclists like Romaine Martin said they'll use.
"I'll use it every day," Martin said.
The DOT said not as many cars travel on Burnside Avenue as they used to, and they don't think two lanes in each direction are necessary anymore.
"I think it will be fine," East Hartford resident Robert Rodriguez said. "I've been living here for about 20 years, and I've never seen major congestion on Burnside Avenue. I think it will be good for bicyclists."
But changing the lanes is just the beginning.
Officials said they also need drivers and bicyclists to follow the rules of the road.
Construction is expected to begin next spring or summer.
State officials said the $1.1 million project will be 90 percent funded by the federal government.
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