Broadway intersection at Lorimier to close Friday

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Workers with Fronabarger Concreters pour concrete on the south side of Broadway at the Lorimer Street intersection Monday, April 30, 2012 in Cape Girardeau. The intersection will close on Friday as work continues on the Broadway corridor project. (Laura Simon)

One intersection will close to traffic on Friday and another will reopen as the ongoing $4.5 million Broadway corridor project continues its seven-month march westward toward what Cape Girardeau officials say will end with a much improved and highly decorative streetscape.

The intersection of Broadway and Lorimier Street will close Friday for about three weeks, said project manager David McMullin, vice president at Fronabarger Concreters. That's the same day that Broadway's intersection to the east with Spanish Street will reopen, four days ahead of schedule. The contractor plans to overlay the Spanish Street intersection Thursday.

That's the intent for the length of the project, which begins at Water Street and extends west to Pacific Street, McMullin said.

"As soon as we open one, the same day we're going to close the next one," he said.

The Oak Ridge-based company intends to mill Broadway from Lorimier to the alley between Middle and Frederick streets Wednesday, which will close that section of street to traffic and parking from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. The asphalt overlay from Water to the alley between Spanish and Lorimier streets will be placed Thursday, weather permitting.

Officials note that closures are possible throughout the construction zone. Updates are provided online at www.buildingabetterbroadway.com.

So far, it's been going mostly according to plan, McMullin said, with no major delays.

City engineer Casey Brunke said some adjustments have been made on the fly, with the contractor opting to work from midblock to midblock instead of intersection to intersection. After work began, the contractor decided that way would work better. So they'll go from one midblock to the next, she said.

"They'll hopscotch like that," Brunke said. "So it's a little different than what we had originally thought of, but from a construction standpoint, it makes great sense."

No complaints from residents or business owners have been lodged, Brunke said, though she added that she has received several calls of query.

"It's going very well," Brunke said. "We're excited. ... So far, so good, it seems."

The project is intended to be substantially completed by Nov. 5, with all of the "hardscaping" done. That includes items such as the pavement, sidewalk, curb and gutter, storm sewer and pedestrian lighting. The 15-foot-wide sidewalk on the north side of the street is also to be completed by that date. April 1 is the deadline for final completion, which includes landscaping, trees, tree grates, benches, trash receptacles and bicycle racks.

McMullin said residents should be able to see in the next week or two the first signs of the new extended sidewalk, which is taking the place of parking. Parallel parking will remain on the street's south side. City officials have described the project as a streetscape that will create a pedestrian "promenade" in time for the opening of Isle of Capri's $125 million casino in November. The overall project is paid for by the city's half-cent Transportation Trust Fund sales tax.

No street closure is expected to last longer than three weeks, with Fronabarger agreeing to a $10,000-per-day penalty if that happens. City officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of admitted mistakes made when upper Broadway was widened seven years ago when several businesses complained about long delays hurting their bottom line. The city also helped launch the aforementioned website to keep residents updated and the contractor is meeting with business owners as the project progresses.

The project is in progress in front of Prodigy Leadership Academy. The school's director, Russell Grammer, said the school made temporary changes about where parents drop off and pick up their children. The work also rattles the windows, and it can get noisy at times, he said.

"But we're a flexible group," Grammer said. "While it's true that we've had to make some adjustments, we're excited to see it happening."

Grammer said it's provided a learning opportunity for the students, who are watching a new street being built right outside their doorstep.

"When it's all finished and looks beautiful, the kids will be able to say they were there at the beginning," he said.

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

Broadway, from Water to Frederick streets, Cape Girardeau, MO

232 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

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