Posted 10/27/15 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
Tioga’s Main Street should be open by the end of the week -- a milestone that will be marked with a small celebration.
Across the city, crews scrambled last week to finish up a few projects in advance of freeze-up, but while a few issues are shaping up better in these last days, a much-anticipated “quiet zone” will not be complete this season.
“I know frustration is building, but we’re on the final stretch,” said Antonio Conti, senior civil engineer with Ackerman-Estvold.
Conti and the city are putting together a celebration on Main Street for Oct. 30 beginning at 4 p.m.
They still need to work out some details, but they plan to involve local businesses and the Tioga Chamber of Commerce.
“We’ve been looking forward to this for three long months,” said Ryan Mickelsen, chamber president.
More good news
An MRI truck was brought in last week for the final test of a North Main paving job near the hospital.
“They went in and out without a problem,” Conti said.
Earlier in the month, it appeared North Main Street was going to remain a dirt road through the winter due to underside clearance problems for the truck.
The city decided to give the go-ahead to pave the road using specifications Ackerman created with design software. On paper, the truck would have no problems, but that was no guarantee. They needed to bring the truck in to be absolutely certain the paving job would work as planned.
Conti had a contingency plan ready at a cost of up to $12,000 if it hadn’t worked out.
Meanwhile, the water main project on 67th Street is also not quite the headache it first appeared it could be.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation lowered the slope from the road up to the highway, and as a result, the pipe is too shallow to be protected from freezing this winter.
The city was especially peeved at the issue since scrambling at the last minute for a contractor would greatly inflate costs up to $250,000, Mayor Drake McClelland feared.
Conti said he figured out a way to address the issues for $50,520. That’s a “not to exceed” price.
Train horns will be screaming through the city until next building season.
A quiet zone was supposed to be part of the Main Street project performed this year, but it requires permits from the Federal Railroad Administration before construction can proceed, and these were not granted in time.
“It was determined that the permitting phase would take longer than initially anticipated,” said Dusty Zimmerman, director of corporate communications for Ackerman-Estvold.
City Commissioners decided last week to forgo the “quiet zone” until next season when the city will hopefully have the permits in hand, rather than hold up the rest of the project.
Conti said he will continue to push the permits through so the project can resume next year.
While the residents of town will need to endure the trains for another year, at least the road will be paved.
Second Street will not be paved until the end of the month or first week of November.
At a construction update meeting Friday, Commissioner Heather Weflen said the closing of both roads caused a lot of difficulty for downtown businesses. These were supposed to be completed by now, according to timelines the contractor, Quam Construction, had developed.
“We’ve gotten a lot of calls about it. People want to know when it’s open,” Weflen said.
The timelines are tentative and many unknowns can cause delays, especially in large projects.
The lines in the road designating parking spaces and lane divisions, which are done by a “striper,” are also delayed, but Conti said he is confident they will be complete by Friday.
“I just want the street open,” McClelland said.