The city of Owensboro is two weeks into an eight week downtown intersection restoration project, and things are going smoothly.
The project will see the brick-laden portions of Second Street intersection repaired from Daviess Street to Walnut Street. Work on the intersections of Daviess and Allen streets have already been completed, with subsequent work anticipated to be finished in the next six weeks, said Wayne Shelton, public works director.
“It will take about a week for each intersection,” he said. “The closures are related to how many bands we have to replace along those eight intersections. If you look at the paver intersections, they are framed with a concrete frame that holds the pavers (bricks) in place, the design is that there is a thin concrete band, with the heavy traffic, that fractures that top concrete and it breaks loose. Some we can patch, but others require an overhaul.”
While any mention of a street closure inevitably sends shivers down the spines of commuters, this initiative isn’t a full-blown street closure, but a “moving closure,” he said.
“It isn’t a long-term project like rebuilding a whole street,” he said. “It is a moving closure. Really the closure itself is related to how many of the bands that we replace. What we try to do is go in on Monday tear it out, set it, put it back and open it up. Our goal is to only have the intersections closed for three days and have the streets back open by the weekend.”
The reasoning behind the “moving closures” and taking on the project in the winter months is simply to minimize impact on business and commuters, he said.
“Anytime you work on a street, especially an intersection, there is some impact,” he said. “We take things such as foot-traffic, time of year, special events, etc. into consideration when we go about any project. We want to impact the least number of people that we can when we do this kind of maintenance. One of our major considerations, especially in regard to special events and foot-traffic, is getting these types of maintenance projects done before the season begins.”
Businesses were informed by Owensboro Street Manager Kevin DeRossitt prior to the closures beginning and so far, the closures have not had a negative impact on businesses but have actually yielded unexpected results, said Ashley Vanover, Creme general manager.
“Usually people will park right in front of were they need to go,” she said. “The closures are encouraging people to walk around downtown and experience it, which many don’t often do. We have actually seen our lunch numbers increase. Myself and many businesses downtown are happy they are doing it. Downtown is beautiful, and so much work has gone into it and keeping it up is as important to our success as the city’s.”
For more information about upcoming intersection closures, visit owensboro.org.
Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, firstname.lastname@example.org