“We are going to try to maintain one lane, one way along Gay Street, pretty much through the entire project, with the exception of work on the water line,” Robinson told a group gathered Thursday for a pre-construction meeting at Mount Vernon City Hall. “We want to try to keep continuous flow without diverting people for up to 14 days at a time.”
Robinson said this would be the best alternative for everyone, including construction crews, especially when installing new curbs and sidewalks. The base and intermediate layers would be installed and construction would be switched to the opposite side of the road.
While traffic will be maintained along Gay Street, Cameron Keaton, Mount Vernon city engineer, stated he hoped local residents would continue to find alternative routes through the area to keep traffic on Gay Street at a minimum.
Mount Vernon Fire Chief Shawn Christy was concerned with east and west traffic patterns off Gay Street if the street is going to maintain continuous traffic.
“With our trucks, I just can’t make left and right turns very easily with those large fire trucks,” Christy said. “My greatest concern is east-west traffic rather than north-south because we will never use Gay with one lane anyway. By shutting off all the crossroads, for us to get down to Ohio that makes a long way to go up and start backtracking down. As long as I have an option here or there that will work for us.”
Robinson assured Christy there would always be east-west traffic maintained throughout the project and that the department would be made aware of which side streets would be closed and when.
“Communication and safety are of the utmost importance,” Robinson said. “If we communicate, we are going to get through things as smoothly as possible.”
Keaton used this opportunity to remind everyone that communication is the key to making this a successful project for the city, crews and residents.
“We are all aware that traffic is probably going to be our biggest headache on this entire project,” Keaton said.
Getting the word out to the public about what is going to happen each week is critical, Keaton said, to keeping traffic moving and crews safe.
“Things might not change much on a daily basis but from week to week there will be a lot of different activity. If we can let people know what to expect Monday mornings ahead of time then we’ll all be better prepared,” Keaton said.
Representatives from United Precast Inc. and Ellis Brothers were on hand to discuss potential traffic issues with their trucks. When necessary, those trucks will need to travel northbound on McKenzie Street to High Street. City officials agreed that would be the most logical route and advised letters would be sent out to those residents alerting them to the inconvenience. It was also agreed that parking along High Street near McKenzie could be blocked off when larger trucks would be coming through the area.
According to Keaton, Columbia Gas is the only utility company to have lines under Gay Street. Although no representative was present, Keaton expects to speak to their representative today to see if any problems could arise with the lines during construction.
An 18-week project schedule was distributed and Robinson explained that the project will start slowly with crews working four 10-hour days each week. As work progresses, work schedule will change to five or six 10-hour days. Ultimately, Robinson plans to do some work at night and mentioned that ideally, he would like to see paving completed after the sun goes down if that met with the city’s approval.
The contract stipulates the project will be completed by Aug. 1. Keaton acknowledged that it is not unusual to offer an extension if weather delays the project.
Read the Mount Vernon News and www.mountvernonnews.com for updates on road closures as well as construction updates.