“We have installed all new curbs and driveway aprons on the east side of the Pike,” says Public Works Director Terry Huxel. “And we have upgraded the storm sewer from Wilmuth Avenue north, which will help control water during heavy rains. From Wyoming Avenue south, we have replaced the old four-inch water mains with new eight-inch mains.”
Does this mean we’re almost out of our misery?
Well, no. It means the orange barrels and heavy equipment will shift position as phase two begins. “Phase two will be new curbs and driveway aprons on the southbound lanes, and installation of new storm sewers. Phase three will be the paving of the center lanes,” says Huxel. The project is scheduled to be completed by early spring of next year.
“It’s frustrating sometimes, I know,” he says. “When the road’s down to a single lane and a dump truck stops to make a delivery, you get big delays. We’re trying to keep everyone alerted to situations like these.” He recommends checking Google or Apple Maps before getting on the road, and signing up for Nixle alerts to keep abreast of traffic problems. But sometimes the Pike is the only choice, and at times like that, he says, “Pay attention. You can’t drive down the Pike right now if you’re distracted.” Accidents by distracted drivers add to the congestion, and can be avoided where construction delays cannot.
Traffic problems aren’t the only challenges the city has faced during phase one. Early in the project, new utility poles had to be installed, as well as new water mains, which caused delays. “It’s been a challenge,” says Huxel. “Some of the utilities under the street are not where they were supposed to be, and the rain in June slowed us down.” Despite these issues, he is cautiously optimistic. “Weather depending, we hope to finish ahead of schedule.”
Rusty Herzog agrees, and stresses that the finished project will be well worth it. “Most crashes occur at intersections, and the new traffic patterns will help with that. The new storm drains will help keep water off the road during rain storms,” he says. “Once they’re completed, the changes will make it much safer and smoother to travel through town.” Changes everyone is really ready for about now.