Sixth Street may shut down to traffic this year to help contractors rebuild the Downtown thoroughfare quicker, according to Rick Jones, the city's commissioner of public works.
The decision rests with general contractor AW Oakes & Son and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Jones said. The contractor needs to submit its plans to shut down Sixth Street - technically a state highway - to the state before the change can be made.
Original plans called for one lane of traffic on Sixth Street to remain open throughout construction, Jones said.
City officials are now waiting for WisDOT to set a date for Sixth Street's pre-construction meeting, which brings together contractors and utility companies to schedule the project.
So what does all of this mean for Sixth Street businesses and customers?
First, it looks like traffic will be shut down on the street in hopes of completing the roadwork faster. That could cause some inconvenience with traffic, but Jones said businesses requested the change because they had a decent summer last year thanks to dedicated customers navigating the work zone. (Last summer, sewer and water pipes under Sixth Street were replaced.)
Second, there's a real effort to get Sixth Street done as quickly as possible. But as of now, there's no start date for construction.
Third, spring is near. Forget snow drops and robins. What better to signal the end of winter than road construction?
P.S. The road-building equipment now seen at the Monument Square end of Sixth has nothing to do with the rebuilding project; it's just Time-Warner replacing some cable.