Portions of Mill Avenue closed through August 15, as Tempe Streetcar construction starts

TEMPE, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- Drivers driving through Tempe should be prepared, as construction is now underway for the Tempe Streetcar system, which will result in the closure of northbound Mill Avenue in Downtown Tempe through August 15.

Mill Avenue runs through the heart of Tempe, but starting Monday, the northbound lanes of Mill Avenue are closed, from University Drive to Rio Salado Parkway, as crews prepare for the construction of the Streetcar. It's a project that city leaders hope will keep residents more connected.

"The stops are a little closer together, so people can go from work or ASU and go to lunch, or connect with the Light Rail to go to Downtown Phoenix," said Amanda Nelson with the City of Tempe.

Until then, however, the closure will impact a number of businesses and events, including on the 4th of July. Bike lanes and parking spots will also be blocked, but the sidewalks and crosswalks will remain open. While it may be an inconvenience for some, city officials believe this is the best time to begin work on a major artery through the city.

"ASU just finished graduation, and we're going to get it done in the Downtown before they start up the fall semester," said Nelson.

Tthe entire project is expected to be completed late in 2020. If all goes well, riders can expect to board the Streetcar by 2021.