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Auburn University recently completed the first phase of the $4-million Mell Corridor project, including the campus’ first protected bicycle lane and upgrades to the intersection of the new Mell Concourse and Thach Avenue south of Ross Square.

The project, which includes two additional phases, will continue to change the way students, faculty and staff traverse Mell Street and the eastern portion of campus once complete.

“We are pleased to see the Ross Square intersection open with the inclusion of the protected bicycle lane so access and mobility is improved for all users,” Campus Planner Ben Burmester said. “These improvements will continue as the project continues down Mell Street working south to the Library Service’s driveway.”

The project was separated into phases to lessen travel disruptions through the area surrounding the Mell Classroom Building at Ralph Brown Draughon Library and to provide less of a burden for students, faculty and staff.

Phase two is currently underway with the third and final phase expected to begin in March.

“The contractor has proceeded with Phase II, which is paving a new parking lot east of Mary Martin Hall, creating a courtyard area between Mary Martin Hall and the Mell Classroom Building, and constructing a concourse on the north half of Mell Street,” Construction Project Manager Cale Simons said. “Work on this phase is scheduled to be complete in mid-March.”

"They will then proceed with the third and final phase, which is the construction of a concourse on the south side of Mell Street. This phase is expected to begin mid-March and wrap up in June," Simons said.
In addition to allowing for better pedestrian travel through the eastern portion of campus along Mell Street from West Thach Avenue to the Library Service’s driveway, the corridor upgrades will give new life to the area by giving students the option of taking their education outdoors.

Multiple sitting and study areas, access to power outlets, and plenty of space for conversation will make the new plaza another gathering space for the Auburn Family while continuing the campus' pedestrian only transformation.

A new plaza and seating area, to be located in what is currently the Mary Martin Hall parking lot, will be accompanied by food trucks, along with a walk-up window housed in the Ralph Brown Draughon Library.
Along with increasing pedestrian and bicycle access and options, the project also will add a permanent welcome kiosk on West Thach Avenue, new dining options between Mary Martin Hall and the Mell Classroom Building and more gathering spaces adjacent to the Mell Classroom Building.

It is a project years in the making. Discussions for the Mell Corridor began in 2015 with the start of construction of the Mell Classroom Building. Multiple public forums were held in 2016, and implementation began in 2017.

"This is really the implementation of extensive planning and outreach. We think this project is going to enhance the student experience,” Burmester said, “not only transporting and moving people but improving campus life.”

The Auburn University Board of Trustees approved the $4-million project in April 2017. Holcombe Norton Partners Inc. of Birmingham completed design for the project and Rabren General Contractors was awarded the construction contract.

For more information, head to the Facilities Management website at