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Rochester nears completion of Main Street Makeover

Project on schedule for Nov. 23 contract completion date

October 3, 2012

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The final piece of the city’s new water main was put online in Main Street at approximately 5:04 a.m. Sept. 27, signaling the completion of all water main work done as part of the Main Street Makeover. City Manager Jaymes Vettraino said the city got its full 117 years of service life out of the original cast-iron water main.

ROCHESTER — The end of the Main Street Makeover project is in sight, and construction crews are moving full-speed ahead to finish the work by the Nov. 23 completion date set forth in the contract.

City Manager Jaymes Vettraino said the project should be complete before the kickoff of the Big, Bright Light Show Nov. 26.

“That’s the big date around town because it’s going to be a celebration of both our annual Big, Bright Light Show and the project completion,” he said.

As far as the roadwork goes, Vettraino said last week’s Olde Town Road closure was the last “true road closure” of the project.

“We may have to close an alley, or limit access to one of the side streets for a specific process — when we’re setting light poles or traffic control light poles — but there will be no more closures of side streets,” he said.

Final paving of area north of University, in front of Old Towne, and the area south of Second, should be complete in the next couple of weeks.

“As we pour these sections in, north of University and south of Second, just like in the Main line, we had to pour the street, pour the curb and pour the sidewalk in a systematic way. It requires drying time, or curing time. As the temperature gets cooler, those take a little bit longer. While we would love to go out and pour everything at once, it has to be done in a systematic way. After you do a pour, you’ve got to wait — it depends on weather — a few days, before you can pour right next to it,” Vettraino said.

Near the end of October, beginning of November, traffic on Main Street will shift to the three center lanes.

“At that point, people can drive straight through the project and not have to twist a little bit, which does slow down traffic. We’re pretty excited to get those three lanes open, but we have to get cure time on the pavement that they’ll be pouring shortly,” Vettraino said.

While most of the Main Street Makeover’s larger components are complete, there is still much detail work to be done on the sidewalks.

By the end of the week, the sidewalks downtown should be completely poured, and the majority of the orange construction fencing removed.

“There will be no orange fence, except for at the corners, which we are really excited about. They will be pouring the corners ongoing for the next couple of weeks,” Vettraino said.

Deputy City Manager Nik Banda said it’s “amazingly different” when you stand on the sidewalk now, which was poured in the exact same dimensions as it was previously. City officials say the sidewalks look larger because the brick pavers were removed and the sidewalks are all uniform now.

“People are writing on Facebook and things, saying they look twice as wide,” Banda said. “You can see the definition of the planters and the tree grates and the bike racks — everything is kind of coming into vision as to what it’s going to look like.”

The recycled brick planters are complete in most intersections, according to Vettraino, but crews still have to work on a couple of planters at University and down at Second, so they will be finishing those up over the next couple of weeks.

“Those have turned out beautifully. I’ve gotten a lot of great comments on those,” he said.

Planting of trees and other landscape materials will begin in the next week or two.

“Trees were being tagged up in Saginaw, and they’ll start bringing them down,” Banda said.

One of the last things that will be done before the project is deemed complete, Vettraino said, is the installation of the iron leaf fences that will go between the posts set up around the trees, then the benches, bike racks and trash areas will be added.

Anything historic has been discovered at this point, Vettraino said.

“We’re really happy with all the historical stuff that we were able to save or preserve, and in fact, sell and get back into the hands of our community members,” he added.

The Downtown Development Authority held its last Downtown Yard Sale in September, but there are still some historic bricks left. Those who are interested are asked to contact the DDA to make an appointment.

The DDA will hold it’s last Main Street Makeover Update meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Royal Park Hotel. The meeting, which is open to the public, will outline what is left of the project.

“We just keep progressing, looking to get this done, and we’re making good progress,” Banda said.

“We are absolutely on schedule and looking forward to getting it done in November,” Vettraino added. “We’re really excited for Nov. 26.”

About the author

Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond covers the city of Rochester, Rochester Community Schools and Avondale Schools for the Post. Almond has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2005 and attended Michigan State University.

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