(Laura Simon) [Order this photo]
Work on Cape Girardeau's Broadway streetscape project is expected to move into the 700 block Tuesday, closing down the biggest intersection during the project's duration thus far. Along with Kingshighway, West End Boulevard and Interstate 55, Sprigg Street is one of the the city's prime north-south corridors. According to numbers provided by city officials about 15,000 to 20,000 cars drive through the intersection each day.
The Sprigg Street intersection will first be closed for a few days for utility crews to move fire hydrants, add water pipes and upgrade gas and water services. Construction to remake the street, curbs and pavement will begin next Monday.
Currently Broadway is closed for construction from Frederick Street to Sprigg Street, and work is now one block past the halfway point, which is the Middle Street intersection. The Frederick Street intersection is scheduled to open Monday when construction moves into the 700 block.
Fronabarger Concreters' project manager and vice president David McMullin said the project is well ahead of schedule.
"Last week we had an asphalt paver break down, but besides that everything has gone smoothly," McMullin said. "We've been around two weeks ahead for awhile now."
Businesses in the 700 block include Broadway Prescription Shop, Dollar General, Subway, Flesh Hound Tattoo, Reflections Styling Studio, River City Coins and Jewelry, Envy 573, Downtown Sinclair and the New Life Ministries Free Store. Renee Gordon, owner of Flesh Hound Tattoo, said the project is a definite plus for the city and Broadway business.
"I know it's going to hurt my bottom line for the next few weeks, but the end result will be well worth it," said Gordon. "I think we'll see more owners get involved in improving and caring for their buildings. You can already see it happening. The additional foot traffic that comes out of this will be great, too."
During the Sprigg Street intersection closure, crews intend to reroute drivers to Bellevue Street. However, Cape Girardeau city engineer Casey Brunke said the city's grid street system will ensure people can still easily get where they need to go.
"That is one of our busiest intersections, so it will be an inconvenience for local traffic. But there are many ways to get around the construction right there," Brunke said. "As long as folks are patient and prepare accordingly, the Sprigg Street intersection closure shouldn't affect drivers too much."
Gordon said business owners have known about the project for some time, and have prepared customers.
"Just like most businesses, we have placed signage and have gotten the word out through social media about parking and how to get to us," said Gordon. "I'm sure our customers will see they can still easily find their way here."
Gordon said she knows of other businesses in the block who plan to use the same approach as Flesh Hound to communicate with customers.
Placement of new 2-inch blacktop overlay on Broadway, with construction moving east to west from Water Street to Pacific Street, started in April. The city contracted with Fronabarger Concreters for street and sidewalk replacement as well as utility relocation, which is set to be complete by early November.
The beautification and streetscape enhancements will be installed at a later date, with full project completion in early April 2013 at an estimated total cost of $4.5 million. McMullin said that the recent streak of 100-degree days did not slow workers down.
"It wasn't the ideal situation, but our guys handled it well. We were certainly grateful for the small break from extreme heat we got last week," McMullin said. "I know we have more heat coming, but we're prepared for it."
More information about the construction and accessing local businesses while the project is underway is available at betterbroadway.wordpress.com/whos-downtown.
Broadway and Sprigg Street, Cape Girardeau, MO