Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Construction Update

Utility work continues at the intersection of Vine Avenue and S. Gay Street. As expected, we have hit that rock layer so it is quite noisy as many of you know. We are hopeful we can complete this bit of work in a week or two. Work on AT&T lines, gas, water and sewer is all expected at this intersection. Additionally, KUB will continue to pull wire in the 100 Block and will begin work on transformer installation and the removal of old transformers in the future. The old units cannot be removed until the new ones are energized however. All of this work requires a delicate balance between design and construction timing.

The design for the structural columns under the sidewalk should be completed and ready for review by City Engineering in the next few days which will allow us to begin considering a realistic work schedule for rebuild of road and sidewalks.

The jog created on Jackson Avenue for electrical work should be completed by the end of the week. At that time we plan to create another crossing at the intersection by pushing back all of the equipment and staging materials which should make this much safer. Please be careful crossing here for the next few days. City Engineering and KPD are looking into safety improvements here but may not happen in the next day of so.

We are working towards improvements to the Jackson Avenue parking lot as plans are in place to remove the equipment and also the bollards at the entrance. CBID is working on having a 'Free Parking" sign erected as well. As you may have noticed, the excavated material stored there has now been completely removed.

I will probably not post again until after the 4th of July so I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday. The construction crews as well as the City personnel will all be off on Friday, July 3, 2009 in observance of the Holiday. Also, First Friday will occur on that day so as always, I encourage folks to come down and visit the many fine shops and restaurants in the downtown area and particularly on the 100 Block of S. Gay Street.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vine Avenue closure

In order to accommodate the road width needed for the 2 way designation for Vine Avenue, the parking meters along Vine will be bagged for 'No Parking'.

We are also evaluating Walnut Street for a 2 way designation for its entire length as well. Parking on Walnut Street will also likely have to be prohibited if the decision is reached to make the entire length 2 way. Note: that evaluation is now complete and Walnut will remain as is.

Also parking meters on Vine will only be bagged up to the intersection with Walnut.

It was pointed out to me that the map I have online concerning this matter is not clear in the way that State/W. Vine Ave. intersects with S. Gay Street. This entire intersection will likely be closed much of the time such that a left turn onto the 200 Block of S. Gay Street will be prohibited but there will also be times access to Gay Street will be allowed. The Contractor, as I have stated, has pledged to work with delivery folks to make this work out.

I will try to revise the map on Monday to better reflect this situation along with any other map details we may learn about after the closure on Monday.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Construction Update

A partial closure of Vine Avenue will occur on Monday June 22, 2009 for utility work. This closure will be from S. Gay Street westward approximately 20 feet. Vine Avenue will revert to a two way designation at that time. I will be posting a map detailing the traffic control plan soon. Click here for a map in PDF format.

Folks parking in the Sterchi parking lot will enter from Walnut Street and turn right onto Vine Avenue. The sidewalks will remain open at all times as the work will occur in the right-of-way. Of course, folks will have to walk around the construction but the pathway will be well marked. Since construction started, I believe most folks have gotten used to this situation as delivery trucks and others have blocked this same area for at least some portion of most days.

This work is necessary at this time because the utility work has proceeded to such a degree that this bit of work is now required. AT&T, gas, water, and electric services all are in the intersection so a good deal of coordination will be required for everything to work smoothly but we have a good plan in place and don't expect any hiccups. As you may recall, we previously worked in this intersection so we know most of what we are likely to encounter.

Unfortunately, we also know we are going to have to use the heavy machinery to go through more of the rock that we have been encountering. This will make for a noisy and busy environment for at least one week. Please bear with us for this phase.

This work is projected to take from two to four weeks.

Valet parking will continue to be available although they may have to move out closer to the the middle of the intersection near our 'We are Open" sign. We realize it will be a bit of an inconvenience for them for a while to have to go around the construction to park but we really have no choice at this time. As best we can, we plan to try to use steel plates so at least one lane can remain open on Vine Avenue from Gay Street after work hours but there will certainly be times when that will be impossible.

The Contractor will make sure that delivery trucks are accommodated as best he can. This may involve his crews actually having to help direct traffic for them but they have committed to that and we are very grateful for their continuing accommodations for us.

I have discussed with KUB the issue of outages and timing of such and they have promised to work with me so I can post on this blog when outages are to occur. Of course there may occasionally be emergency situations but I hope to find a way into that loop as well.

I missed that last construction meeting last week and it is possible that a water shut off last night was discussed there but I did not know about it until yesterday's construction meeting.

We also have a little more electrical work to be done at Jackson Avenue and it will be necessary to build a small jog in Jackson Avenue at S. Gay Street for a week or so. After this work is completed, we plan to push back from Jackson Avenue the construction barricades so folks crossing S. Gay Street at Jackson can better stay out of traffic. I have discussed with both KPD and City Engineering ways to better control traffic at this intersection.

The structural design elements of the road and sidewalk are beginning to come together and we hope to have the final design in a couple of weeks so we can then begin roadway and sidewalk construction.

Although not planned, it is probably going to work out well as most of the utility work in the 100 Block has now occurred so there should be little conflict there as we proceed.

As some of you may have noticed, we are finally hauling off excavated material from the Jackson Avenue parking lot and will probably have that completed today. I understand it was quite a scene when several tandem tractor trailers converged all at once yesterday morning to begin hauling.

Thanks to everyone for their patience on this project, particularly those folks on the south end of S. Gay Street. It has been very noisy and busy there for a few weeks so we appreciate your indulgence.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Construction Update

We are continuing to discuss issues involving utility work in the intersection of Vine Street and S. Gay Street. We are tentatively planning for at least a partial closure of Vine Street at its intersection with S. Gay Street on June 22, 2009. This will be a complicated process as water lines, gas lines, electrical and AT&T lines are located in the intersection and all will be upgraded. This work will most likely take anywhere from two weeks to one month.
As many of you know, we have once again hit the layer of rock that slowed us down a bit at the start of the project. It is very noisy business to try and break through this hard surface and, unfortunately, we will be in this area for some time as the work at Vine may encounter the same situation. Please bear with us. It should not be constant but we will probably have to use equipment each day at some point to proceed with the project.
Valet parking will still be available and the sidewalks will remain open while the work at Vine St. proceeds. Plans are in place to accommodate delivery trucks as the 200 block of Gay Street will remain open. Issues involving the parking lot are also being considered.

Vine Street will become a two way street as well at that time and I will post a traffic control plan along with more details of the construction next week.

Utility work in the 100 Block is really going well and a lot of progress has been made. You may notice the concrete tiles which will make up the stormwater system along the side of S. Gay Street. This work is proceeding at a quick pace.

We should have a plan for the structural columns under the sidewalks so we can begin to get a schedule for work on the to-be-constructed sidewalks in the next couple of weeks.

We are in discussion with PBA concerning the removal of the non-functioning parking control device at the entrance to the Jackson Avenue parking lot and KPD continues to monitor activities in that area.

The mid block crossing created by the Contractor on S. Gay Street was a big success and many thanks go out to them for this bit of work. I have been told that this crossing will likely stay in place for some time so we are grateful for that.
Lastly, thanks to those who attended First Friday downtown last week. The weather was good and folks seemed to have a good time viewing the many excellent exhibits. I am always amazed at the work of the many talented artists we have in our area. If you have not been, I would encourage anyone to come on out and show support for our local artists, of course beginning at the Art Galleries on the 100 block of S. Gay Street.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Construction Update

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, or possibly a stuck CD for younger folks, utility work is continuing on the 100 Block of S. Gay Street. Electrical work and some work on the gas line is getting closer to completion and excavation and installation is beginning for the stormwater systems.

The work site is beginning to shape up though, and we hope the actual work associated with excavation will be completed soon. At that point we will not have to have as much heavy equipment on site and we will be able to take down the burlap screens on the fencing.

Some folks may not be aware of the entrance into the underground on the west side so here is a pic taken from the Gay Street Viaduct. A pic was taken straight on last week but I thought this was an interesting perspective as well.

This is a picture taken under the sidewalk on the eastern side of the street. To the left is the Emporium and to the right is the retaining wall under Gay Street. You can also see one of the glass panels in the sidewalk above. Obviously, this area is wider and in much better shape than the other side of the street. An electrical vault must be removed to proceed with opening up this section.