Posted 9/20/16 (Tue)
By Brad Nygaard
The end is near.
Oct. 15 is the target date for completion of the massive street paving, sidewalk and sewer project Crosby residents have been living with all summer.
Dust, dirt and disruption have been constants throughout the season, but Stems + Salvage owner Brittany Sparks took it all in stride until last week.
“Because now I’m sick of it. It’s been long enough,” she said, one day after the final lift of new asphalt was applied to Main Street.
Ryan Rostad, project manager of the $6.8 million dollar undertaking, said work is on schedule -- possibly a little ahead. Still, he can understand frustrations, even as the final pieces of the project approach conclusion.
“There’s no way not to disrupt the whole town with something this big. I mean, we go from the south end of town all the way to the north end. I mean, there’s no way to go around it.”
Like an invading army, Rostad, his crews from Mayo Construction and their subcontractors arrived in May, bringing with them a barrage of orange pylons, detour and road closed signs. Heavy equipment rolls through the streets like tanks, and construction noise assaults the ears.
Despite everything Rostad said, “Everybody’s been pretty easy-going and willing to work with us, which helps tremendously on a project like this.”
“We’ve gotten to know all of them,” said Sparks. “I say, ‘You’re getting dirt on my floor!’ I’m just joking.”
Rostad said communication and cooperation are key ingredients to a successful project. Local business owners like Kay Garbel agree.
“There were some minor inconveniences as far as our shipping and receiving. We get a lot of large trucks bringing freight, and quite often we needed to facilitate that by meeting them in another location in the community,” she said.
Despite having customers coming in the back door and having no front access while the sidewalks were replaced, Garbel said the project is worth the hassles.
“I think the new sidewalks are going to be easier for us to maintain just with snow removal. Ours were cracked to the point they were a hazard for people.”
Garbel also likes the ramps cut into the curbs at intersections for those with accessibility issues.
Sharon Huenefeld, an employee of Crafts 4-U, said what inconveniences there have been, have been worth it.
“The end result is going to be beautiful,” she said, and the disruptions were not as bad as feared.
“It hasn’t slowed down through the summer,” she said.
Workers have been around long enough to leave an impression, mostly good ones.
“All the construction guys have been phenomenal. Nice guys. Very accommodating,” said Huenefeld.
Sewer lines are getting an unseen face lift. Plastic polymer membrane is being injected to seal the old clay tile pipe buried under the streets to prevent any leakage. Rostad said this method is much more efficient, cost effective, and convenient for residents.
“If you had done the project the old fashioned way of digging it up and replacing it, all that would have to be repaved. There would be people without sewer for three, four, five days, maybe even a couple of weeks,” he said.
During the process some homeowners were asked not to run their water for a few hours.
Once the main sewer lines are finished, residential connections will also be lined and sealed.
Rostad said he was able to bring in an additional crew from the ND 5 project to tackle approaches to driveways and alleys.
“Not really to get us caught up, we were pretty much on schedule anyway, but to get everything covered up and avoid problems if there was any rain,” he said.
Besides not losing too many days of work to rain, so far, Rostad said a lack of machinery breakdowns has helped keep the project moving forward. Progress is important because an additional seven blocks of street paving were added to the 44 originally planned.
“As far as the paving, it’s just a few extra hours here, a few hours there,” he said.
He also said the sewer project is expected to come in under budget, and there have been no major changes, or cost overruns, so even with the added paving expense, the final price should be very close to the $6.8 million dollar bid.
Garbel said the final price tag isn’t important, getting the project completed on time with little disruption to business is.
“Overall I think there are maybe a few things that could have been improved upon on both ends, ours and theirs, but I am really pleased with the way it was managed,” she said.
Rostad said he appreciates everyone’s cooperation.
“Overall this town has been very welcoming, helpful -- a lot of people thanking us for the job we’re doing, which is kind of nice.”