The rebuilding of Sixth Street has begun, not to be completed until Oct. 31. But despite all the previous sturm und drang about that lengthy schedule forcing cancellation of Party on the Pavement, Racine's annual street celebration will take place as well. On Saturday, Oct. 3.
How's that, you ask?
Well, it's like this: Although work to construct a new roadway and sidewalk on Sixth from Main Street to Grand Avenue may not be finished by that first weekend in October, the roadway itself will be done. All that may be left to do is landscaping, streetlights and what-have-you. So, as the mayor and public works director have said in the past, the party will go on.
If you don't believe me, then feel free to attend a pre-construction meeting with A.W. Oakes & Son, the contractor, along with representatives from WisDOT and the City of Racine at an informational meeting on April 9, at 3 p.m. in Room 130, City Hall Annex, 800 Center St.
We talked to Devin Sutherland, executive director of the Downtown Racine Corporation -- the celebration's unofficial partymeister -- who reminded us that the Main Street project itself hadn't actually been completed at the time the city held its first Party on the Pavement. "The first one, we still had 4-way stop signs sandbagged at all the intersections because the traffic control signals hadn't arrived yet." Sutherland said the complete Sixth Street project "may not be done until sometime in November, but they will not hinder Party on the Pavement."
Kris Martinsek, public information officer for the Historic Sixth Street Project, sent out the first newsletter about this year's effort today. She notes that, "Although Oakes had floated ideas for alternatives, only one construction work plan and schedule was submitted for approval. As proposed, the project begins April 6, and must be completed by Oct. 31." Those "floated" alternatives talked about closing the entire street for months, to expedite the project. Instead, one lane of traffic will remain open throughout the project's construction, with the exception of five days for the installation of a storm sewer main during Phase two, sometime in May or June.
Below is the city's first construction report and project timetable:
With installation of utilities completed in 2008, the work to construct a new roadway and sidewalk and to install the planned streetscape elements along Sixth Street west to east from Grand Avenue to Main Street has begun.
Time Warner Cable and AT&T have been doing some advance work to alter utilities for the project. AT&T began work near College Avenue and Time Warner Cable began work near Wisconsin Avenue. Their work should be completed by April 10.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has awarded a construction contract to A.W. Oakes & Son of Racine. On April 3, Oakes and their subcontractors met with representatives from WisDOT and HNTB, the firm hired to oversee construction, to review the project scope and schedule. Although Oakes had floated ideas for alternatives, only one construction work plan and schedule was submitted for approval. As proposed, the project begins April 6, and must be completed by October 31, 2009.
► Stage One begins immediately and includes traffic control and mobilization by the contractor who will deliver equipment, materials, construction trailers, etc. and set up on the jobsite. Construction begins on the north side of the street where a portion of the sidewalk will be cut back to create 100 foot long temporary loading zones. The loading zones will be restricted to delivery vehicles and short term parking (up to 15 minutes) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Longer term parking is allowed evenings, after 6 p.m. and all day Sunday. The south side of the street remains open to one lane of westbound traffic.
► Stage Two is scheduled to begin late April and continue to mid June. The south side of Sixth Street will be closed to traffic, old concrete removed, the storm sewer main installed, and the new roadway constructed. The temporary loading zones on the north side and five feet of sidewalk on both sides will remain open. The north side of the roadway will be open to one lane of traffic during this stage with the exception of five days when the storm sewer main is installed. Its location in the middle of the roadway necessitates a full street and loading zone closure while the work is done.
► Stage Three sees traffic returning to the newly completed south portion of the roadway as work begins on the north portion. This stage should run from approximately mid June to late September.
► Stage Four begins when the roadwork is complete in late September with a deadline for completion of October 31, 2009. Sidewalks will be constructed with brick pavers, new signals and lights will be installed, and streetscape work completed. (Some sidewalk work will overlap with the other stages where possible.)