September 19, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 38

Many businesses see minimal impact from summer construction

Some initial concern over the Petersburg Road Improvement Plan turned out to be less of an issue than originally anticipated.

The $4.1 million dollar project began in September of 2012. According to a project report written by Bryce Iverson, SECON Project Manager, “…2,800 cubic yards of concrete were placed, over 4,800 linear feet of curbs and gutter, 3,100 square yards of sidewalk, and nearly 10,000 square yards of concrete pavement.” The initial concrete pouring phase was put on hold because of early season freezing temperatures.

Barry Morrison, Trading Union Grocery Manager, said that kept them in front of his store for longer than anticipated. He estimated Trading Union sales dipped by 30-40 percent when the project picked back up after winter.

“The spring hit and we said ‘ouch’.” Morrison said. “The effect was much bigger. We weathered it just fine. There was nothing they could do about the weather.”

Hammer and Wikan CEO Larry Martin said he was initially concerned about customers losing access to his store and said although there was a negative effect, it could have been worse.

“I think they did a very commendable job and it was nice to have them wrap it up as soon as they did,” Martin said.

Melinda Cook, manager of Java Hus, said the business considered the effects of construction to be an unknown so they provided incentives to counter potential business losses.

“We did a weekly drawing in order to encourage customers to come down and they won a free coffee card if we drew their name,” Cook said. “And we were pretty consistent and steady through the whole entire summer."

Cook added the workers involved in the construction of the road did nothing but a good job to accommodate them in helping to bring in supplies when deliveries were made.

Dave Berg, Petersburg resident and Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief, was around the last time the road was under construction.

“It was a little bit of an inconvenience but it certainly wasn’t as extensive as our last time they did the street,” Berg said.

He reflected on the 30-day spans that it took for concrete to dry during the 1980s—the last time the road was under major construction.

Karl Hagerman, Director of Public Works, said there was a lot of worry early on based on a similar project in Wrangell that didn’t go so well. But Hagerman said he only received a few complaints during the 11-month project.

“I think that’s a pretty good yardstick for measuring how well the project went,” Hagerman said.

Aside from a recent hiccup, SECON had to make repairs to five sections of the new streets after cracks developed in the roadway because the cuts that split the sections weren’t made soon enough, the project finished more than two months before their October 31, 2013 deadline.

Iverson said the crews always had the businesses and traffic in mind.

“We just made it a priority to have access to the businesses. If there were times we were going to restrict the access we made sure it was off peak hours or on Sundays,” Iverson said.

The project was completed on August 6.

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