Smooth, steaming layers of fresh black asphalt will begin replacing the familiar ruts and potholes of East Sherman Avenue as early as next week.
“We were told the asphalt plants are going to open next week - March 31,” said Chris Bates, project manager for the city of Coeur d’Alene. If the weather gets warmer and stays dry, crews will be able to pave the first blocks from 22nd Street to 18th Street.
“All things considered, with the weather, things are going well - they are even a little ahead of schedule,” Bates said.
That’s welcome news to merchants, some of whom are suffering because customers won’t run the gauntlet of detours and barricades to come and do business. If the project stays on schedule, it will be done by Memorial Day, but “we’d like it done before then,” said Chris Schultz, who works at the Moon Time Restaurant.
In any case, three lanes of road that no longer resemble the Oregon Trail will be worth the hassle for most merchants.
The slowdown is only beginning to hit Burts Music & Sound, perhaps because construction workers ripped up the road out front only a few days ago. “We’re on a corner - 12th - so people can use the side door,” said Kevin Kubista, of Burts.
But they will have to take Lakeside to get to 12th, he warned.
Meanwhile, crews may have to dig out some soft spots, Bates said, and put down a firmer base before the paving rolls in around 19th Street. In addition the contractor, Norm’s Utility Excavating, wants to get the new concrete sidewalks, curbs and gutters poured before the asphalt goes down.
That’s so heavily laden concrete trucks don’t leave an impression in fresh asphalt, Bates said.
The $2.2 million project started Feb. 19 and has gone so well, in terms of time, that the contractor put down concrete pipe faster than the manufacturer anticipated, Bates said. By Memorial Day, all but the cleanup and the traffic lights should be done.
The project is being paid for partly with bonds that were sold to take care of rebuilding Ramsey Road and Government Way. A portion of the money also came from merchants and residents who live and do business along Sherman Avenue.
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