Crews begin work on Williams, Fourth Sts.

Staff writer

Now that the old jail building has been removed, Fourth and Williams Sts. are getting a facelift.

Crews were already demolishing the street and cutting out curbs along Williams St. Tuesday. County crews could begin laying the base for the street by the end of the week, Darin Neufeld of EBH and Associates said.

The project will work in two phases to allow traffic to flow as normally as possible throughout the area.

“The courthouse is a busy place,” administrator Roger Holter said. “We want people to have the greatest access to it as possible while these repairs take place.”

J-turns will be allowed on Williams St. so parking can still be accessed.

The process to tear out curbs will take a few days because curbs are being cut out to construct ramps that meet federal guidelines.

Construction on Fourth St. will be broken into two parts to allow at least one jail entrance to remain open throughout the project, Neufeld said.

Once the curbs are removed on Fourth St. from Main St. to just south of the jail’s first entrance, city crews will remove the bricks and concrete from Williams Street. Pride is saving the bricks for a future project, for crosswalks around the area including from the jail to the courthouse.

The process will be repeated after the first portion of Fourth St. undergoes a seven-day cure for the remaining portion of the Fourth St. project.

County workers will replace the street base. Hett Construction will pour a concrete road, new curbs, and ramps once a base is complete.

Holter estimates the construction for each phase to take place over two weeks, weather permitting.

Neufeld said all major problems with business affected by the project have been resolved except what to do about the Post Office outside drop box.

A plan to close the box while construction on the first part of Fourth St. was taking place was discussed but considered the last option, Neufeld said.

“I’m working with the office to see what we can do to create a turn around on the property since the back exit will be closed by construction,” he said. “We haven’t figured anything out yet.”

Other parts of citywide street project also could begin this week.

“They haven’t alerted us to an exact start time yet, but they could show up at anytime,” Neufeld said.

Vogts-Parga Construction of Newton will begin work on select intersections, beginning with the intersection of Denver and Roosevelt Sts., then after Freeborn and Sherman Sts. Intersections around schools will be pushed until the end of the project so as to not interfere with school traffic. The number of intersections completed will be decided by the weather.

Because the project affects so many, a public meeting with project heads for input and to answer residents’ questions will be at 5 p.m. on Feb. 5 at the community center. Notifications also will be sent to all affected property owners before construction on their area starts.

“The key is to keep everyone updated to show what we’re doing and why,” Neufeld said.

Holter plans on updating the public by posting updates via the city website, social media, and the cities text alert system.

“The intersections aren’t as big a deal because there are other ways out,” Neufeld said. “The long streets are a whole different deal.”

Work on resurfacing large portions of streets will begin at the end of March to avoid any winter weather delays.

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