Work to replace aging infrastructure, add parking
For the fourth consecutive year, portions of downtown Waukesha will be under construction with two streets closing to through traffic to accommodate the work.
The city held a public meeting on Jan. 10 to discuss the 2017 downtown project – which encompasses the reconstruction of portions of North Grand Avenue and South Street – and outline preliminary details about the project's schedule and phasing.
The meeting was attended by about 10 residents, downtown Alderman Erik Helgestad and Mayor Shawn Reilly.
Continued downtown construction is part of a larger six-year-plan previously laid out by city officials aimed at replacing aging infrastructure there.
City Project Manager Brandon Schwenn said the reconstruction work, will which occur in three phases, is tentatively scheduled to last four months – roughly from early March to early July.
The work will include the installation of a new water main, relay and lining of the sanitary sewer main and laterals, storm sewer rehabilitation, pedestrian ramp reconstruction, sidewalk replacement and installation of a wider stone paver terrace.
Schwenn said the city will also add 11 parking spaces within the project footprint.
According to a preliminary time line for the project, North Grand Avenue, between Wisconsin Avenue and the Five Points intersection, will close to through traffic in the first phase of the project in early March.
Schwenn said a significant western portion of South Street will remain open during that time – roughly the first four weeks. But in the second phase of the project, set to begin in April on South between Grand and Clinton Street, both Grand and South will close to through traffic.
"But the sidewalks (in the project area) will remain open more or less at all times," Schwenn added.
The third phase, which will conclude the underground and road reconstruction work, is scheduled to begin in May.
The scheduled completion date is July 3.
The city will provide parking permits to business owners or residents working or living within the project footprint who lose access to parking as a result of the construction, Schwenn said.
Those permits will be for various public parking lots near the work sites.
City Engineer Alex Damien said that access to businesses in the project footprint will be maintained as best as possible.
He said in the past that construction crews have built temporary walkways to ensure such access when sidewalks adjacent to businesses are being constructed and would likely do so again.
Anyone with questions or interested in receiving regular updates about the project should contact Schwenn by phone at 262-524-3585 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year's downtown project marks the fourth year in a row that the city has undertaken a major construction project in the central city.
Two more years of downtown construction are planned.
However, in a departure from recent years, the city will not be performing any construction on Main Street in 2017.
Nonethless, residents annoyed by persistent construction might have something to smile about: Construction crews have finished downtown work early the past three years.