Broadway in Cape now open, but still construction zone

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Car heads east on Broadway Monday. The Cape Girardeau city government reported Tuesday afternoon that the entire length of Broadway is now open. (Laura Simon)

In one sense, the $4.5 million Broadway corridor project is a numbers game.

When the work was declared substantially completed and reopened to traffic Tuesday, Fronabarger Concreters Inc. had worked exactly six months, employing 19,224 hours in paid labor. Since the April 9 start date, about 3,428 of those were paid in overtime to the contractor alone due to the six-day work weeks and the occasional night jobs.

The amount of concrete needed to get the 3,605 feet from Water Street to Pacific Street totaled 4,500 cubic yards. More than 10 tons of rock were dumped to provide a foundation for the sidewalks, including the 15-foot-wide "pedestrian promenade" on the north side.

Exactly 5,902 plants and 128 trees were placed along the newly refashioned roadway, along with the 88 light poles of various shapes and sizes.

But on Tuesday's milestone, Fronabarger's project manager David McMullin said it was one number that made this project the most stressful in his 12 years with the company.

Twenty-one.

That is the number of days the company had after closing each section of street before it was required to reopen that portion to traffic. If traffic were stalled longer than that, the Oak Ridge-based company would be required to pay a $10,000-a-day fine.

"That was the part that made it the most stressful," McMullin said. "As soon as you got done with one block, the clock would start ticking again. Every 21 days you'd think you'd have some relief, but it just all started over again."

Still, on Tuesday, the work was largely done, though city officials cautioned that the area will remain an active construction zone as a few finishing touches are made. With traffic whirring through the most recently completed intersection of Broadway and Pacific Street, McMullin said that -- while the work was often demanding -- the finished product makes the work worthwhile.

"It was pretty tough, but my opinion is it looks great," McMullin said. "The businesses were so willing to work together. With some projects, they can be obstinate and really refuse to work with us. I think these businesses had a lot better attitude. I was pleasantly surprised."

City officials were lauding the project Tuesday, which they wanted done by Nov. 5 in time for the opening of Isle Casino Cape Girardeau next month. The casino timeline has since moved up, so that Isle Casino Cape Girardeau will now open no later than Nov. 1. Meeting each of the deadlines, which Fronabarger did, seemed especially important.

"We marched right through -- block by block by block," said Mayor Harry Rediger. "Having those deadlines in place helped keep traffic moving through and disturbed the businesses as little as possible. It's just been a great, great project. We know it hasn't been easy, but it's open now."

The work that remains, said city engineer Casey Brunke, includes lighting and landscaping, which she expected to be completed in the next two weeks. Originally, it was believed that some of the landscaping would have to wait until next year, but it was done early.

"It has gone beyond my expectations how well the project has progressed," Brunke said. "They opened every intersection on time and most of them opened early. [Tuesday] was the day they had to get Pacific open and they did it."

In the days leading up to Tuesday's deadline, McMullin said he wasn't so sure that would happen. They came across fiber-optic lines that had been improperly placed. A water main couldn't be shut off. A one-day delay turned into two, and then four.

"By that fourth day, I was getting pretty nervous," McMullin said. "But everybody pulled together and we got it done."

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

Broadway and Pacific Street, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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