Downtown construction targeted for mid June completion
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The second of two years of work on Rhinelander’s Streetscape project is slated to begin April 10 when the grinding of asphalt along all curbs starts in the downtown project area.
An overview of the three phases for this year’s finishing touches, which weather permitting have a completion date of June 16, had been laid out at a public informational meeting Tuesday evening at City Hall, where less than a dozen members of the public were in attendance.
Rhinelander’s Streetscape project began in March of last year 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 also involved increasing the width of sidewalks, installing decorative lighting, planting trees and other beautification projects.
Given all the work that has been completed to date, city public works director Tim Kingman said the project “got into a good ending spot in the fall, and now, after a good, long winter, we are ready to resume.”
“In this whole project we’ve tracked the finances and what we can say to date is that we’ve stayed on schedule with the funding that we have available to us,” Kingman said. “We’ve actually got a few other things accomplished along the way.”
During last year’s construction, a block was added to the Streetscape project in front of the Rhinelander District Library along Stevens Street between Rives Street and Frederick Street. According to the financial figures presented at Tuesday’s meeting, the 2016 costs to date have come to $9,617,469. The projected final costs are estimated to end up this year at $10,207,155, of which $5,509,485 would be in loans, $3,421,500 in grants and $1,276,170 being the city’s share.
“We’re looking very sound in our financial picture as we go through this project,” Kingman said.
Though there won’t be as much disruption to traffic in the downtown area with this year’s work, in comparison to last year’s construction when several roadways were dug up, one closure at the start of this year’s construction will be similar to 2016, namely the closure of the Davenport Street Bridge.
“In the first phase of our project work this spring, we’ll start out with closing the Davenport Street Bridge for approximately 30 days,” Kingman said. “That is necessary to do the repair to the bridge approaches and decking that was in need of repair.”
According to the project schedule, after the asphalt grinding takes place along the curbs throughout the downtown area from April 10-14, the Davenport Street Bridge would close April 17 and reopen May 19. From April 17 through May 12, work on concrete areas in need of repair or replacement is slated to take place throughout the Streetscape area.
However, unlike last year when the concrete work resulted in closed streets, Mark Barden of Town and Country Engineering said the intent this year is to only close off the parking areas where concrete repair or replacement takes place while keeping the streets open to traffic at that time.
Barden also noted that sidewalk closures downtown businesses faced in 2016 won’t be repeated this year when only segments of sidewalk in need of replacement would be blocked off while that work takes place.
The road closures outlined in this year’s construction schedule are slated to take place in three phases when structures such as manholes would be adjusted for final installation along with the paving and striping to finish the affected streets.
“It is going to just progress through the downtown area and try to keep roads open as long as we possibly can,” Kingman said. “When we go to pave and stripe the roads, there’s going to be time periods where street segments are closed.”
“Phase I” calls for closing street segments on Davenport, Courtney, South Anderson and North Brown starting May 8 and reopening them May 19. “Phase II” includes streets segments on North Anderson, South Brown and King being closed starting May 22 and reopening June 2. “Phase III” calls for street segments on Stevens and Rives calls being closed starting June 5 and reopening June 16.
“The objective for phasing this project is to get this project completed efficiently and as painlessly as possible,” said Barden, who noted a subsequent phase won’t begin until the previous phase is completed. “Last year was tough in the downtown (area), and we’re going to whip through it this year and hopefully we’ll be out of your way as much as we can.”
Being that the construction work is slated to take place this year on weekdays, Barden noted it will be up to the discretion of Sean McNamara of Kruczek Construction as to whether to open the affected streets on weekends, given the possible hazards such as elevated manholes being in the roadways while the work is in progress.
Kingman said other public informational meetings will be scheduled once construction is underway, while updates on the work will be posted online at http://www.rhinelandercityhall.org