A rendering shows the welcome monument planned in the center median of State Route 347 at the city's northern border.

The work to beautify the median on John Wayne Parkway from Honeycutt Road to the north entrance to town is progressing on schedule.

The city project, which got underway in mid-August, will add plants, shrubs, decomposed granite, landscape irrigation, concrete, boulders, gabion baskets, steel light columns and artistic elements to the 2.15-mile section of median. A planned monument sign at the northern entrance to the city will, according to preliminary renderings, show the city’s stylized “M.”

According to city spokesman Quinn Konold, the first of three phases of work is ahead of schedule. Working south to north, crews are installing irrigation infrastructure, laying rock, planting trees and shrubs, and positioning boulders and gabion baskets.

“The crowning welcome monument will be installed at the city limit entry point, with the exact location for the monument being staked out soon,” Konold said.

The project is scheduled to complete early next year absent weather-related delays.

The end time coordinates with another major project the city will undertake on the city’s main thoroughfare. At its Sept. 7 meeting, the city council approved funding for a series of projects designed to improve traffic flow at John Wayne Parkway and Smith-Enke Road. City Manager Rick Horst said at the time that work on that intersection could begin in 6-9 months.

That timeline would allow the current median-improvement and monument projects to be completed prior to work beginning on the congested intersection.

“A key component of the project and its completion date is safety,” Konold said. “Not only is ensuring the safety of our residents and city crews a top priority, we also need drivers to comply with posted speed limit signs in order to maintain the current hours of construction and keep the project on track.”

Once both projects are completed, Konold said traffic signal timing will be adjusted to provide the most efficient traffic flows possible along both streets.