Road construction shuts down for the winter
The downtown road construction project has shut down for the winter but will have to finish Phase I of the project when work begins again in the Spring.
All of the curb and gutter work has been completed and the sidewalks for Phase I have been finished including the glass seeded panels and the first four bronze medallions of the project.
The pavement on the west side of Dolphin Street is complete.
“All of the other surfaces that will ultimately be paved have been filled with temporary gravel for the winter,” Dowl HKM Project Engineer Matt McGuan said.
McGuan explained that going into the project it was understood that weather would be an issue and the project was on an aggressive schedule driven by the desire to minimize the impact on the loading dock for Icicle Seafoods.
“From a project planning point of view, we anticipated contending with rain,” McGuan said. “But we didn't expect so much cold weather. In October, we experienced about 13 freezing days where normally we would only experience one or two.”
According to McGuan there were some points where there were one to two feet of frost in the ground and concrete cannot be poured on top of frozen ground.
“We lost about seven or eight days and it just got to the point that we didn't want to get into a situation where we are so far along that we couldn't stop,” McGuan stated. “At that point, we would have had a bad final product and a big mess on our hands so we had to decide that we were comfortable with what we had accomplished and button everything up for the winter.”
As work begins next year, SECON Project Superintendent Bryce Kidd stated that the work will be able to get started in early March but it depends on the weather.
“We will begin work on the west side of Excel Street in March,” Kidd said. “We will continue working Phase II of the project as Sader Concrete finishes the pavement of Nordic Drive.”
According to McGuan, Sader officials have estimated the pavement work to be completed in a week, but with the grading and preparation, there will be approximately two weeks to finish Phase I of the project.
“The overall contract completion date has not changed,” McGuan said. “The final date is still set for Oct. 31, 2013 and the requirements to have Nordic Drive open for Mayfest and July Fourth is still in place.”
Petersburg Public Works Director Karl Hagerman said that from the City's perspective it is not an ideal situation to head into winter shutdown without the completion of Phase I.
“With the prospect of putting down some concrete that wouldn't have cured correctly and would have to be removed in the spring, it would have been a waste of money but would have impacted the residents and business owners in that part of town even more,” said Hagerman.
He explained that it is unfortunate, but it is probably better to just call it off for this year and start up again in the spring with the knowledge that whatever goes down will be down for good and it will be done correctly.
The next meeting is not scheduled at this time, but will resume again once the project begins again in March.