Posted 6/23/15 (Tue)
By Nicky Ouellet
It’s going to get worse before it gets better.
That grim sentiment is held by the majority of Main Street business owners and managers as they look forward to a summer of construction.
Crews from Quam Construction were out last week laying temporary water pipes before digging up the south end of Main Street.
The sanitary sewer main will be the first piece of underground infrastructure to be replaced, followed by the water main, storm sewers and electrical wiring. Each element will be completed one-at-a-time, south to north by block.
Representatives of the construction project spent last Wednesday going door to door to make themselves available to Main Street store owners.
Jarrod Kelley, Quam’s onsite foreman, and Tom Johnson, the project engineer from Ackerman-Estvold, have not yet released a schedule for planned construction, but recommend downtown businesses to use back entrances throughout the construction process.
“We’re trying to keep the sidewalks open as long as possible,” said Kelley.
DJ’s Lounge will close its Main Street door when construction starts. Patrons will still be able to park in the BNSF lot across the street, but managers worry that closures at the track-crossing will make access difficult.
DJ’s is considering running beer and liquor specials throughout the summer, and events like monthly karaoke and live music will still go on as scheduled.
“I know people are going to be angry, but it’s something we’ve got to do,” said manager Heather Novak, who was impressed with the construction team’s cooperative attitude.
The Bank of Tioga will soon undergo its own construction project to replace the drive through ATM with the walk-up unit currently housed on Main Street.
Customers will be able to park in the back employee lot to access the back entrance. The front entrance will then close for the duration of construction. Consistency is the goal.
“We came up with a pretty good plan, I believe, to handle everything,” said Vice President Harlan Germundson.
For Skol Bar, parking will be scarce. Customers are warned not to park in the Senior Citizen Center lot until managers receive permission. Instead, parking is available behind the bar, in the Economic Development Center’s empty lot adjacent to the bar, across the train tracks and along Front Street.
“That’s probably going to be one of the biggest issues is you won’t have that crossover between the three bars on Main Street like you do now,” said manager Ann Nelson.
Crews were in town on Tuesday to tear up the street surface for the length of Main Street downtown.
Traffic will be reduced to one lane for the rest of the construction period. The train track crossing on Main Street will be closed periodically. Detour routes will be posted.