A long stretch of West Street will close Thursday. The gateway to downtown will be closed between Columbian Avenue and Pine Street, with traffic diverted accordingly, as paving work begins Thursday and Friday. "Another day to two later next week, depending on the weather. Then another day or two. These projects require multiple stages, different equipment. ... It's sort of like, 'stay tuned,'" Public Works Commissioner Jeffrey Wennberg said Tuesday of the project. The $87,700 project, part of the budget for the year, will repave 2,100 feet of the street. Wennberg said work will begin with a milling machine planing off the top inch or so of pavement and leaving grooves in what remains. "Unfortunately, the plumbing in the road runs right down the travel lanes, so we have to close the road to keep everyone safe ... (while) getting the manhole covers to the right elevation," Wennberg said. Wennberg said the project is further complicated by a plan to put in new curbing, which has to happen before the final layer of paving goes down. "It depends on multiple contractors and the weather," he said. "We're narrowing it up a little bit. It's kind of wide so we're moving the curb out in the area of Meadow Street so it will be consistent width." The Department of Public Works has been using social media and posted signs along the road to warn commuters. "Obviously, there are a lot of businesses along there," he said. "Local traffic, anybody who needs to get to Rotella's or a place like that will be able to get in and out. ... There will be delays, but you will be able to get access. If you don't have business there, if you're just passing through, avoid it." West Street will not be paving season's last hurrah in the city, according to Wennberg. "If people enjoy this one, wait until later when we do a mile of four lanes of Route 7," he said. "The north end is falling apart just like the south end did. It'll be a two-day job at the end of the month. Those are the two major paving projects left this year. Everything else is either done or nearly done."