Main Street loses kink, but project waits on weather

Saturday, February 1, 2003

The zigzag has been taken out of Main Street in Cape Girardeau.

The concrete has been poured and the street is all but finished. All that needs to be completed is part of a sidewalk and the joints between the concrete slabs need to be sealed.

But before the road can be opened to traffic at the Mill Street intersection, Mother Nature will have to cooperate.

The street joints cannot be sealed, and the street cannot be striped, until the temperature climbs to 50 degrees, said David McMullin, the project manager with Fronabarger Concreters, the company contracted to do the work.

"It can't be raining, either," he said.

The purpose of the project is to straighten out a bizarre curve that dates back to the old shoe factory that was built by the riverfront in 1907 and demolished in 1990. The road was built to go around the factory.

The straightening project has been part of the city's overall street improvement program for several years.

City officials say the improvement should help traffic flow and increase safety.

"It needed to be done and thankfully, it's close to being done," said Abdul Alkadry with the city engineering department.

The road will still have a curve in it, but it isn't as sharp as it used to be.

Steve Wilkinson, who operates a car repair garage near the construction site, agreed with Alkadry.

"It's going to be a big improvement," Wilkinson said. "It's going to be real nice with a nice gentle flow and sidewalks on both sides. And it's not near as dangerous as it was. There have been a lot of accidents there over the years."

Alkadry said the bid for the project was $62,623, but it will end up costing the city more than that because more rock had to be used than expected. Alkadry said he didn't know how much the project would finally cost, but he estimated that it would be less than $70,000.

McMullin said the soil was softer than expected.

"That whole area down there used to be river bed, and there were a lot of soft, silty spots," he said. "It was too soft for a road, so it had to be over-dug and we had to put more rock in to get a solid underfooting for the street."

bmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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