Downtown improvement project slated to wrap up by July 4
BY KEVIN BONESKE
A sure sign of spring – road construction – could soon be happening in downtown Rhinelander upon resumption of the Streetscape project.
The city’s Streetscape project began last March and wrapped up for 2016 in November. Numerous street closures occurred downtown last year when work took place separating the combined sanitary and storm water sewers and upgrading both systems along with putting down new pavement.
The project has also involved increasing the width of sidewalks, installing decorative lighting, planting trees and other beautification projects.
Rhinelander public works director Tim Kingman said the project’s general contractor will likely resume work later this month or in early April with the goal to finish up Streetscape before July 4.
“We’re going to try to hold them off as long as we can, because the best concrete and pavement work is done in the warmer weather,” Kingman said. “The more we push them into spring, the better. We don’t want to (hold off resuming work) too far, because there’s a little thing around here called July 4, and we don’t want to get to that point, either.”
For the work that will be done this year to complete the project, Kingman said Streetscape will involve three phases. He noted repair work will take place for “deficient” sections of concrete with curbs and sidewalks being replaced where needed, and then the final paving of the streets in the project area would be completed along with installing park benches and furniture downtown as finishing touches.
Though there was some discussion this winter about possibly changing the traffic and parking patterns along Brown Street, which in the downtown area was laid out as part of the Streetscape project with two-way traffic having diagonal parking on the east side and parallel parking on the west, Kingman said the street won’t have one-way traffic this spring after about 55 percent responding to an online survey didn’t favor that change.
“We’re going with what we designed with the project,” he said.
To update the public on the Streetscape work planned for this spring, Kingman said an informational meeting is tentatively being planned for March 28.