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End in sight as Broadway project set to reach last intersection next week
Work on Cape Girardeau's new $4.5 million Broadway corridor is set to reach its final intersection at Pacific Street next week, launching the final three weeks of traffic interruptions that motorists and business owners have endured all summer as the project has inched its way westward.
But when the bulk of the work is finished next month, city officials say, the resulting new streetscape and "pedestrian promenade" will have been well worth the hassle.
"We've gotten so much good feedback," city engineer Casey Brunke said. "It looks a lot different. It's a complete change. It's hard to imagine what it looked like before. Just a complete transformation."
The project began April 9 and, if all goes according to plan, should mostly be finished by about Oct. 3, which will be three weeks after the intersection of Pacific Street and Broadway closes Wednesday, said Fronabarger Concreter's project manager David McMullin. Fronabarger, based in Oak Ridge, was awarded the contract, despite the fact its low bid came in more than $850,000 higher than original estimates.
The Broadway-Pacific Street intersection will be the last one that has to be closed, McMullin said.
"It feels good," McMullin said. "It's been a long, hot summer."
After those three weeks are up, the so-called hardscaping work will be completed, he said. That work includes the pavement, sidewalk, curb and gutter, storm sewer and the 15-foot-wide "pedestrian promenade" on the north side of the street. All that will remain after that, he said, will be landscaping, irrigation and the lighting -- which he says will be worked on immediately following the intersection work that goes through Pacific Street.
Optimistically, he said, the entirety of the work will be done by the end of November, he said. After that, Fronabarger will do a walk-through with city officials to come up with what's known as "punch-list" items, he said. That could include pavement cracks, inlet work or more mulch in spots, for example. That work, McMullin said, could be started at the end of November.
The hardscaping portion of the work was to be completed by Nov. 5 so it could be ready for traffic in time for the opening of Isle of Capri's downtown casino. The project is actually ahead of that schedule, McMullin said, because they started work several weeks sooner than anticipated, actually beginning just a week after they were awarded the contract.
"We didn't want to come down to the wire because of some problem and then not meet the Nov. 5 deadline," he said. "So we started ahead of schedule and we'll finish ahead of schedule. And when this part of the project is finished, we won't stop. We're going to work on it until its done."
The project has caused Broadway businesses to adjust to the road closures to keep customers coming in their doors. Signs have been put up sending those customers to their back entrances in places. Motorists have also had to follow detours to dodge the work.
This last intersection will perhaps most affect Southeast Missouri State University students more than anyone, McMullin said. Students wanting to get to the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center will have to find a new route. This part of the project is also closest to the university's main campus, making commutes to class a tad longer because this intersection creates the longest detour, McMullin said. He did note that they will not close the intersection Monday because of the SEMO District Fair.