Completing downtown road construction that has left craters in major thoroughfares and dents in the pocketbooks of businesses will take until spring, though city officials pledge all lanes of traffic will be open this winter.
“Obviously the weather window is putting us into crunch time here,” said Kyle Twohig, engineering operations manager for the city, at a news conference Monday afternoon at City Hall.
Twohig said the $3.1 million project, which began this summer and has prompted multiple concerns from downtown businesses affected by lack of pedestrian access and parking, was made more complicated by the snarling and often uncharted weave of public and private utilities beneath city streets. A single layer of asphalt will be laid on Lincoln and Monroe streets between Second and Main avenues before the cold weather sets in, allowing all lanes of traffic to be open during the winter, he said.
“One of the things that you’ll see is just a little lip, along the gutter line,” said Twohig. “We’ll feather everything in around the pedestrian ramps, and the ADA ramps, so you don’t have a little lip there. Along some of the arterial corridors, that’s all you’re really going to notice.”
“It’s not unusual to do this type of construction,” added Mark Serbousek, the city’s streets director.
City crews have scrambled in the past to meet winter deadlines for major paving projects, including November 2010, when a single layer of asphalt was used to pave West Second Avenue over the winter.
Mayor David Condon said the Lincoln and Monroe project is just part of a record-setting road construction season, fueled by a voter-approved 20-year street levy in 2014. Several downtown projects also are slated for next year.
“We watch very closely, and again as I present the budget for next year, another record-type year for this kind of investment, in making good on our promises to citizens,” Condon said.