With the completion of the box culvert installation and only the finishing details of asphalt overlay remaining, 13th Street is nearly complete.
Although the street is open, the Public Works Department will begin laying the final course of asphalt Sunday. Crews will close the street during the final course of asphalt and reopen it late Sunday.
After that, construction crews will contain the remainder of the work to the plaza area and Summit Street. That work should not impair pedestrian or motorist access to the businesses along 13th Street, said Bruce Campbell, assistant city engineer.
T-R PHOTO BY DAVID ALEXANDER
Thirteenth Street, shown here Tuesday afternoon, will be open to through traffic until Sunday when it will close for the duration of the day. The project will enter its final phase of construction subsequently, with completion slated for spring 2013. Further construction will not impede pedestrian or motor traffic.
"Once it's paved, it should be totally open," he said.
All that remains on the city's side is some work on the tie removal and water main portions of the project, but the culvert installation is complete, he said.
Once the contractor lays the asphalt, the city will issue a stop order for the project until weather permits completion of the final leg of the construction, Campbell said.
Beautification efforts will begin in the spring of 2013. The contractor will have completed all the hard elements of that effort, such as fencing, below-ground pipe work for the water feature, and light posts, by time the city issues the stop order, leaving only the tree planting aspect of the beautification effort in the spring, Campbell said.
Tina Bagnall, owner of the 13th Street Inn, said she will be glad when construction is done, but she is unsure the beautification effort will increase business. She said her business has curtailed substantially since construction began, down 70 percent since this time last year.
"It's been pretty rough down here for the last six, seven months," she said. "There were some days I really questioned whether I should be open."
Originally, the contractor set the project's completion date for the first week in November. However, workers hit a snag when they discovered debris in the water main and unexpected materials - including some fiber optic line - beneath the concrete while doing work on the box culvert.
These issues delayed construction further, adding to a time crunch imposed partially by the discovery of gasoline-contaminated dirt originally planned to be used as backfill in August.
While Bagnall said she is frustrated as to how long the construction is taking, she is not surprised at how long it is taking to spruce up the area. It has been in disrepair for a good portion of her 25 years as owner, she said.
"I think it is taking so long because it was never taken care of in the first place," she said.
Adam Daters, project manager for the 13th Street project, said Peterson Contractors Inc. had to submit change orders because of the contaminated soil and other issues, but he said he is unsure whether the project is still within the $1.9 million budget.
That is something they won't know until the change order has been submitted and the company can be certain there are no more costs associated with the project, he said.
Lighting is also a concern, Bagnall said.
Police reports show that someone burglarized the The Salvation Army thrift store and a trailer of the construction company doing the work along the street Sunday.
Campbell said crews should start installing the new light posts sometime next week.
"The contractors are trying to get done as much as possible," he said.