The Main Street streetscape project is well underway, and is on schedule.
Sara Andrews, executive director of the Office of Economic and Community Development, gave an update of the project earlier this week.
“We are very pleased with the work performed by M and B Services to date,” she said. “Despite a rainy May & June, they are on schedule. Other than the weather, there have been no significant issues holding up construction.”
The project began in front of the Main Street Movie House and is progressing along that side of the street first. The crew has reached the Main Street Mercantile and The Bradford Era.
The businesses will remain open during the project, and a path for accessing the buildings will be available for customers.
Andrews explained there have been some changes to the project since it began.
“We have made a few on-site changes with the contractor with respect to the location of the trees and to address sidewalk ADA compliance with respect to the elevation of the buildings to improve on the design to final product,” she said.
The changes were made to level out the sidewalk to make it easier for pedestrians, she explained. There had been a slope in front of several businesses, which made the going a bit tough for those traveling the sidewalk in a wheelchair.
Several of the business owners in the project area have commended the work crew for their willingness to cooperate with maintaining access to storefronts while the project is underway.
Andrews explained, “OECD staff and the contractor have worked very hard to notify business owners in advance of the work to be done and the contractor has done an excellent job in working with all of our business owners to limit any down time.”
She lauded the community’s cooperation with the project, too.
“We certainly are very appreciative of everyone’s patience and willingness to work with us,” Andrews said. “Other than initial anxiety with the removal of the trees, we have heard nothing but positive comments on the work.”
There was an issue brought to the city’s attention as the work has progressed. The sidewalk in front of Kabob’s is over top of an underground vault. Andrews said the project engineer investigated the matter.
“We do not think there will be any issues with addressing the vault area during construction,” she said.
Overall, she’s happy with the way the project is going.
“We are very pleased with progress to date and are looking forward to the other improvement activities still to come this year,” she said.
Yet to come are new traffic signals at Mechanic Street and at Congress Street, as well as intersection improvements, decorative fencing, bollards, trash receptacles, bike racks and planters and three new types of street trees.
Andrews said the light poles will be refurbished, which includes painting the existing light poles in a dark green color, replacing “the old cobra head lights with a decorative LED acorn light” and putting in new pole bases.
She added that a new brick feature will be installed in front of Northwest Bank using bricks made in the Bradford area that were removed from a streetscape project on Congress Street.