Final grading to start on Main Avenue
Main Avenue construction continues to go well, according to city engineer Jon Olson, with underground work completed between Highway 34 and 2nd Street.
"We're going to start seeing final grading on those first two blocks," he said.
Businesses between 2nd and 3rd Streets were scheduled to be connected to the new water service by the end of the week.
Main Avenue will be free of construction over Labor Day weekend. Businesses remain open and several have decorated their back doors for customers to enter more easily.
Crews will make sure the boardwalks are in good condition and pedestrian friendly for the weekend, Olson said.
After a long weekend, construction activity will pick up. Next week, a second crew will be brought in to work on storm sewer work on the last blocks between 3rd and 5th. Water has been tested for the temporary water service between those blocks.
People will also start to see crews working on lighting, Olson said.
Concrete work could begin as early as Sept. 13, according to the original schedule. Curb and gutter will be first, followed by the street. Sidewalks will be last. Concrete takes about a week to set so this process will take several weeks.
The construction crew was asked to extend the boardwalk on the east side of Main to 5th Street to accommodate those who are parking there. Another request was for a boardwalk to cross Main on the north side of 2nd Street. There has been a boardwalk on the south side of that intersection.
Because grading work is starting that won't be a possibility, contractors said. The intersection will need to remain open.
Olson said that the crosswalk at Main and Highway 34 continues to be operational so pedestrians shouldn't have a problem getting to businesses on the first block.
Since more people are parking east of Highway 71 and walking to downtown businesses, pedestrian crosswalk signs have been ordered for placement in the middle of the street. This should make it easier for drivers to notice the crosswalks.
Olson said an interesting discovery has been made during construction. Many of the older buildings had coal chutes that were still open. These have been sealed up as they are discovered. Downtown business owner Ellis Jones has also collected some of the old pipes that have been removed. They were incredibly rusty.
Weekly meetings will continue to be held at 8 a.m. Thursdays at Bella Caffé.