By Mary Spicer
The wait for materials for the first phase of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s long-awaited North Street Improvement Project continues, Meadville Area Sewer Authority Executive Director Frank Duda told members of the MASA board during its monthly meeting Tuesday night.
The replacement of aging MASA lines running under the center line of North Street, which marks the first phase of the project, may begin as soon as late April. However, an early-May starting date is probably more realistic, Duda said.
As for the end of the project, MASA’s enginering consultant, Gus Maas of Hill Engineering Inc., noted that while mid-July for the sewer portion of the project to be finished is aggresive, “hopefully they’ll get it done.”
Having attended numerous meetings with PennDOT personnel as well as the project’s general contractor and sewer subcontractor, Duda shared some insights about the project with the MASA board.
“This is a different bird for PennDOT,” he said. “They usually work on the open highway — they’re not used to working in a downtown.”
One of the things that makes it different is that the construction is going on right there. “You’re standing on your work area,” he said. “Everything is staged outside of town and trucked in when needed.”
Because this is a very different kind of project, Duda said, PennDOT and its primary contractor, Joseph McCormick Construction Co. Inc. of Erie, are making every effort to make sure both city officials and the public are aware of what’s going on.
“They’re really, really trying to open lines of communication to keep everybody safe and informed while this project goes on,” Duda said.
A base of operations for the project has been established at 307 North St.
In addition, McCormick has opened a project website, northstreetproject.info, to keep everyone informed. The website includes pages for project contacts, planned work and project progress.
The “planned work” entry already indicates that signs for the main detour will be installed next week. Plans call for a two-tier detour system, with a “main detour” designed to take vehicles traveling through Meadville around the entire construction zone for the duration of the project and “local detours” guiding vehicles around specific areas as work progresses block by block.
Beginning at Water Street and extending just beyond the State Street intersection, North Street will be closed one block at a time as the sewer line is replaced. Once the line has been tested and is in full operation, the process of replacing sidewalks, curbs, lighting and the roadway one block at a time will begin again at Water Street. Plans call for the second phase to be complete as far as North Main Street by the end of the 2013 construction season. The whole project — from Water to State streets — is expected to be complete by the summer of 2014.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.