Construction managers banking on good weather
Yampa Street construction managers are hoping for a long Indian summer as they approach a late-November deadline to have the first phase of the renovation project completed.
“Overall, it’s cooperating with us fairly well,” city engineer Danny Paul said while touring the site. “At this point, we’re very reliant on good weather.”
On Friday, the Eighth Street intersection was closed to allow work to begin work on installation of new storm water piping. This means both the Seventh Street intersections are now closed, as workers install new sidewalks, and pipes are laid so utility wires can be placed underground.
Because two intersections are closed, a pedestrian crossing has been set up so people can cross the street and navigate between businesses.
“Everyone has been appreciative of this mid-point crossing,” Paul said.
The city has spent about $10,000 on signage to let people know how to get around.
Overnight rain meant workers had to wait Friday for things to dry out.
There were pools of water in areas where new sidewalks and drainage will be installed.
“This is the stuff we’re trying to fix,” Paul said.
The Eighth Street intersection has been opened, and the area going toward Ninth Street offers a glimpse of what the completed project will look like.
New trees were planted along the new sidewalks, and the new concrete has been brushed to give it an architectural detail.
Paul pointed out that the reconfiguration of the street still allows for two-way vehicular traffic, two-way bike lanes and parallel parking on both sides of the street. New footings have been poured for light posts.
“This is my favorite part — when you start doing things above ground that you can see,” Paul said.
While the end is in sight, the project has created some inconvenience and annoyance for local business owners. Inside the restaurants, employees can regularly be heard talking about how they are ready for the construction to be done.
Construction managers have tried to mitigate the noise, but is has been tough to find a balance. The people who live in the area do not want noise in the morning, but the businesses want the noisy work to occur in the morning before they open.
The sound from reverse alarms on large pieces of construction equipment is almost constant, but it would not be safe to turn them off.
“We’re not willing to compromise safety that would make it an unsafe work environment,” Paul said.
Beneath Yampa Street, construction crews have found some surprises, such as large pieces of concrete and unmapped utility lines.
Some hiccups along the way have impacted businesses, but it has not always been the fault of the city’s improvement project.
On Thursday, a cable company worker was doing work at the request of a property owner and hit an underground gas line. Gas was restored to E3 Chophouse shortly before happy hour, Paul said.
Some businesses will realize additional benefits.
At Sunpies Bistro, crews were installing new drainage in front of the building that will keep the area from turning into an ice skating rink during the winter.
Work is also progressing on new sidewalks along Oak Street.
Overall, the improvement projects will cost an estimated $11.2 million.
This year’s construction projects on Yampa Street are scheduled to be substantially completed no later than Nov. 24.
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