Thursday, February 25, 2010

Construction Update - February 25, 2010

The sidewalk work planned on the eastern side of S. Gay Street near Vine Avenue has slowed a bit as KUB crews and subcontractors perform some additional utility work in this area, primarily working on a waterline that has caused a narrowing of Vine Avenue at the intersection. The following two pictures reflect the current conditions here.

We continue to make progress on the sidewalk in front of the Emporium and the plan is to pour concrete here by early next week. Our hope is to have most of this work done by First Friday on March 5.

Future work will consist of reconstruction of the Vine Avenue intersection currently scheduled for the middle of March and a continuation of work on the eastern and western sidewalks from Vine Avenue northward.

Also in mid march will be the beginning of the construction needed to reform the two columns near Unarmed Merchants.

Although not totally unexpected, we are disappointed at the news that the popular eatery, Nama, will be moving into the 500 Block of S. Gay Street.

The construction certainly did not help their business but I think everyone recognized their need for more space. Our completed construction still would not have afforded them much more room to expand. They have been fantastic to work with and we wish them well and look forward to assisting in whatever new concept the owners have for this space.

Thanks for your interest.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Construction Update - February 18, 2010

As many of you know, it has been an interesting week on the 100 Block of S. Gay Street with two unfortunate incidents occurring. The first, and most serious, was a gas leak into the Commerce Building caused by construction. One of the subcontractors was excavating near the gas line going into the Commerce Building and accidentally pulled on the pipeline causing it to leak inside the building. Thankfully, nobody was injured and little damage done although folks had to be evacuated from the building for a short time. Emergency responders from KPD, KFD , and KUB were all on scene and quickly remedied the situation. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused to anyone over this matter.

The second incident occurred when an individual decided to park his vehicle, temporarily, in our work zone near working equipment. This vehicle, as I understand it, was severely damaged when a piece of heavy equipment inadvertently made contact with it. We have tried our best throughout this project to accommodate folks but always with the caveat that they get permission from the job superintendent before entering the work zone so we could avoid this type of outcome. Thankfully no injuries occurred from this accident either but the vehicle was towed away.

We began the at-grade sidewalk work this week on the eastern sidewalk near Vine Avenue and plan to begin reforming the new sidewalk and having concrete poured here by the end of the week. This work has taken less than a week. The plan, as I understand it, is to begin work on a similar section on the western sidewalk next week. See picture below of this work.

We are continuing to work in the 100 Block of S. Gay Street despite the harsh weather. Below is a picture I took Wednesday morning. It was estimated that around 40 men were on site at that time with a temperature in the 20's.

We have continued to work in front of the Emporium and have made good progress here. The next two pictures show the status of work as of Wednesday.

In order to get to this stage of work, earlier in the week the Contractor had to provide heating for both the concrete and more importantly, the epoxy used around the columns. The temperatures had to be in the 38-40 degree range for 24 hours per the specifications which forced us to use heaters. The picture below is of the temporary roof placed over the underground to help contain the heat for this period.

Thanks to to those who attended our Streetscapes meeting last night. Although attendance was very light, we have always felt like it is important to give folks a chance to ask questions and get a progress report periodically.

Folks are always wanting to know when the project is going to be completed and the Contract end date is still August of 2010. The optimist in me believes we can meet that date for substantial completion and so far the Contract has not changed but please realize that many factors enter in to that equation. My understanding at this point, however, is that at least some elements of the Contract are in dispute. I am hopeful these issues can be resolved amicably in the near future.

Given the weather conditions since we started this project, both record rain and now snow and cold, coupled with all of the project unknowns, I believe we have made very good progress.

I credit our Contractor, Southern Constructors, with our success to date along with the help and coordination of many others.

One of my favorite radio stations, WDVX, is having an event at the Emporium Saturday night called Hillbilly Ball, which was postponed from a previous date.

I first thought it was in my honor since I am originally from Eastern Kentucky, but, alas, it is a fundraiser for them so please visit if you can and help out this wonderful community resource.

I believe the event begins at 6:00pm.

Thanks for your interest.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Construction Update - February 11, 2010

Progress continues on the 100 Block of S. Gay Street as evidenced by the next several pictures. The picture below is of the first pour of concrete to form what will be the new roadway in front of the VMC building.

We have been able to continue to work, despite the weather, on the eastern sidewalk in front of the Emporium. The glass block panels were taken out along with the concrete for the sidewalk in one big slab. The concrete was then jackhammered away from the panels so we can reuse them in the new sidewalk. The next two pictures show the exposed underground area adjacent to the Emporium.

The picture below is of the Construction crew removing the concrete from the glass panels.

The picture below is of one of the glass panels before the concrete removed. The Contractor estimated that each of the panels weighs up to one ton.

The above picture is of the removed glass panels along with other sections of sidewalk. Amazingly these sections are coming loose as a whole. Also work has begun on saw cutting the columns for retrofitting. In this picture is one of the beams that has been removed.

The picture below is of the equipment used to help remove sections of sidewalk as well as the beams.

As most of you know, the street lights have been removed (see next two pictures). My understanding is that KUB hopes to install temporary street lighting tomorrow. I know it is very dark out there at night. KPD had been notified and is taking steps to insure security.

Since all of the street lights on each section of roadway were wired together, there was no way to simply remove one pole at a time unfortunately.

Admittedly, we dropped the ball on timing on this and I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Some utility work remains and gas meters are due to have some work, I believe, Thursday night. KUB is proceeding as per their normal notification schedule. Also next Tuesday, my understanding is that the water service will be off starting at 2:00 am to possibly 5:00 am for a large portion of the 100 Block. KUB should also be in the process of notifying those folks affected here as well.

I have had some questions posed to me about parking and non-functioning meters. I called traffic engineering as well as 311 for answers and found out the following information.

If you find a parking meter that is not working, please call 311 and report this to them. They will give you a service call number. If you get a ticket because of a parking meter malfunction and have reported it, simply include the service call number and a brief explanation along with the returned ticket. KPD will check with engineering and if it is determined that the meter has malfunctioned, then the ticket is waived. If it is determined that the meter is functioning, you will receive a second notice to pay.

We appreciate any help in reporting meters that are out of order whether a ticket is received or not. I had heard that many meters on the Gay Street Viaduct did not work, but our traffic folks tell me they only found one meter not working last week. If some part of what I have just reported is not exactly correct, I will post the correction as soon as I find out as this has been an issue for some time and has not been made as clear as perhaps it should be.

Please use extreme caution for the next few weeks when traveling west along the Jackson Avenue sidewalk (see picture below). The very end of the sidewalk is in our construction zone so folks must cross over onto the north crossing of S. Gay Street on the Viaduct, which I know is very inconvenient, before crossing back over onto the western sidewalk to head downtown. I know my friends at the Fire Street Lofts will be inconvenienced by this and we will try to get this repair done as quickly as possible.

Please don't forget our Streetscapes meeting on February 16, 2010 at 5:00pm at the Emporium.

This meeting will generally just be an update on construction and a way for folks to voice any other concerns. I will probably not have a formal agenda for this meeting but topics likely to come up include the closure of Vine Avenue and its impact on valet parking and deliveries and also future timing for various sections of the work. If you have any questions or concerns, please share them with me and I will make sure we have folks available for discussion at the meeting. I hope to see you there.

Also this weekend is the Mardi Growl parade on Saturday, February 13, beginning at 11:am and ending on Market Square. Proceeds from the event benefit Young-Williams Animal Center.

It is really an amazing sight to see all of the dog breeds represented there.

Please stay warm and dry and as always, thanks for your interest.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Construction Update - February 8, 2010

Please remember that work has started on the eastern sidewalk of the 100 Block of S. Gay Street in front of the Emporium. The western sidewalk is open so if you are headed to Jackson Avenue from Summit Hill, please cross over. If you need to get to the Emporium, the eastern sidewalk is available until 5pm tonight. After that the Contractor will be working to construct a bridge into the front door by 8am in the morning.

Also, I was just on the block and the street lights are being taken down. Temporary lighting will be put back in place but it is looking like that will not occur until tomorrow or even Wednesday. I have notified KPD to keep a watch until such time as lighting is restored.

Thanks for your understanding.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Construction Update - February 4, 2010

Despite the weather, we have continued to make progress, particularly on the 100 Block of S. Gay Street. Even in the worst weather we have been completing some of the utility work underground on both sides of the street. We are still planning to begin work on the eastern sidewalk on both the Vine Avenue end of the street as well as the sidewalk in front of the Emporium beginning on Monday. With the weather being as it is and with First Friday coming up this weekend, we thought it best to just wait until Monday to begin this construction. At the Emporium, work will begin first thing Monday morning up to the entrance and then the Contractor plans to work after 5:00pm and into the night to get past the doorway such that a bridge will be in place by Tuesday morning into the Emporium. It will take some work to remove the existing glass panels in this area as we intend to reuse them. The glass panels, when replaced, will be flush with the new sidewalk which will be a great improvement. I believe they are also spaced differently with additional glass panels planned as well. The very first section of new roadway is scheduled to be poured tomorrow in front of the former VMC building and as construction progresses, the plan is to construct the roadway concurrently on the western side of the road.The next three pictures reflect the current conditions.

Construction of the 200 Block is almost finished and the sidewalks should be reopened by today. All that is left here is the 2 inch topcoat and colored bands to be poured when the temperatures allow. The roadway itself cannot be reopened back for traffic until we complete the Vine Avenue intersection construction. This work involves KUB water service as well as AT&T and will require much timing. Additionally it is an area where we have several crosswalks which will use the colored concrete so that also takes extra time.

We plan to begin this work sometime in March and will likely take up to three weeks to complete.

The Contractor has used crew time wisely and has been able to keep all of his crews working consistently. The picture above is of the new curbing at the entrance to Fire Street

Additional work that will likely occur soon involves the old sidewalk along Treble Clef park ( see picture above).
Issues in discussion currently are future sidewalk use agreements both on new sidewalk and on the older sidewalks below, and also the condition and issues with the facade in front of the old WNOX building.

Please don't forget First Friday this week and the opening of the “Headlights and Streetlights” art exhibit featuring Mike C. Berry and Bobbie Crews at the Emporium. Many other exciting events are also planned on the 100 Block as well as the rest of downtown so please come downtown this Friday and help us celebrate the great artists we have in our community while patronizing the many shops and restaurants. I hope to see you there.

I am planning a press release soon on the next Streetscapes meeting to be held at the Emporium on February 16, 2010 at 5:00pm . Please make plans to attend.

Thanks for your interest.