Meadville Tribune

Local News

May 11, 2013

Businesses adjusting in early stages of North Street project

MEADVILLE — Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s long-awaited North Street Improvement Project made it through its first week of construction without a hitch, so to speak, and the first intersection to close down may re-open to traffic as soon as Wednesday.

Merchants toward the west end of downtown Meadville’s North Street corridor, where construction began last Monday at the Water Street intersection, have already learned two lessons.

The first lesson is that everyone directly involved with the project seems to be working hard to make a positive impression on the folks with which they’ve had contact.

The second is that it’s going to be dusty out there. Very dusty.

The second revelation didn’t come as much of a surprise, however, being as the first phase of the project involves digging a large trench through approximately 12 feet of dirt to reach and replace Meadville Area Sewer Authority’s sewer line.

“While the cars may be dusty when you look a them, we’ll clean them up and they’ll be ready to go,” Dane Lang, owner of Lang Motors, promised during an interview with the Tribune.

The first lesson may have contained more of an element of surprise. Lang described the workers as being “extremely conscientious” about installing signage guiding drivers around the construction zone as well as remarkably cooperative in general.

Down the street, Mark Brode, owner of the newly-opened Pennsylvania Sandwich Company just east of North Main Street, has also been positively impressed, even though actual digging hasn’t gotten anywhere near his shop.

“They’re all really nice,” Brode said of the construction crews. “They’re very accommodating. Everything’s good.”

During the first week of the project, Lang was already noticing a commercial upside. “The way they’re detoured, more traffic is driving by than we saw before,” he said. “I know we’ll get calls because people are driving past who may not come by regularly — and will see something in our lot.”

Construction hasn’t made it into the vicinity of Laurie’s Embroidery in the plaza just east of Park Avenue, either, but owner Laurie Davis is optimistic on several fronts.

“Personally, it’s going to be a pain to go through,” she said, “but you have to keep the end goal in mind — it’s going to be a beautiful street.

Furthermore, Davis added, “people can get to our parking lot without physically going onto North Street. We’re very accessible. When they close the street in front, people will have to be a bit creative, but they’ll find us.”

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