Coming Monday: Construction on the square
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Craft fair vendors have left and Central Park looks somewhat deserted now.
That’s good because things are going to change radically next week.
The Central Park improvement project begins Monday. Not only will the project greatly limit usage of the park, work is expected to last until May 2014.
Improvements to the park include new sidewalks and underground infrastructure (water lines and electricity).
However, the work will actually begin on three of the four streets (Main, Monroe and Jefferson) bordering the park on the east, north and west sides. One-half (the half closest to the park) of each of the aforementioned streets will be removed to accommodate installation of the new park utility infrastructure.
“Our first priority is to get the streets done and open (to two-way traffic),” emphasized City Administrator Brent Schleisman.
Traffic control devices will be placed on the square by 6 a.m. Monday morning. Beginning Monday, traffic will be blocked off from the centerline of Main to Monroe to Jefferson streets. The area mentioned will be the construction zone.
“We will have cones and signs out there and people will also be there to help people get acclimated to the change in the traffic pattern,” Schleisman said. “We are hoping it is not too much of a problem. The biggest problem will be the reduction of parking spaces. We are really encouraging people to stay away from construction zones. There will be lots of equipment in many areas simultaneously.”
All apartment dwellers are encouraged to park on the south side of the square (bordering Washington Street) or in another parking lot off the square. No contractor vehicles are to be placed outside of the construction zone on the square.
Traffic will run counter-clockwise around the square — starting at the Main and Washington streets intersection to Monroe to Jefferson and back to the Jefferson-Washington streets intersection. Parking will be allowed on the right side of the direction of travel along the square.
Following the placement of traffic control devices, crews will begin saw-cutting the streets. The removal of sidewalks and light pole bases in the park also begins Monday. Removal will begin at the northwest corner of the Main and Washington intersection, proceeding north to Monroe, west to Jefferson and south on Jefferson to the northeast corner of Jefferson and Washington.
Mt. Pleasant Municipal Utilities will be installing new water lines and electric service on the square’s interior, which is estimated to take three to four weeks, dependent upon obstacles encountered.
Mike Nelson Concrete Paving Co. hopes to be placing concrete by Sept. 23. With cooperative weather, Nelson is hoping to have the street project completed by Thanksgiving. Priority will be given toward pouring back the streets and parking area, prior to pouring sidewalks on the interior of the square.
However, Schleisman said it is hoped that all the street and sidewalk paving is completed this fall.
The city administrator termed the project “complicated” due to the replacement of existing infrastructure. “There is a lot more utility work in this project than our others.”
Mt. Pleasant, however, is in its fourth year of major construction or reconstruction of streets and the work has become commonplace. “This should be a good project when all is said and done. People will just have to be cautious in and around construction zones.”