Wilmore residents will be happy to know East College Street should be open again by the end of the month and the streetscape project is nearly complete, utilities director Dave Carlstedt said Monday.
“All the things that have to get done are on schedule and getting done well,” Carlstedt said. “It’s been going very, very well. We are very pleased with the Allen Company and all the work they’ve done and expect to have East College open by the end of July — hopefully two, maybe three weeks.”
The nearly $3 million Wilmore Streetscape Improvement and Pedestrian Mall project is funded mostly by a government grant with some money from Asbury Theological Seminary. The project should be fully complete by late October, though there may be some foliage and “minor details” on the walkway needing to be finished.
All the water and sewer pipes under the road have been completed; all that’s left is to reconnect to the surrounding property and then pave the road before it can be opened to traffic.
Carlstedt said besides the daily problem-solving of any construction project, the entire venture has been running smoothly.
When East College Street is reopened, the detour on Gillespie Street to Lexington Avenue will be closed. Eventually, Walnut Street will be reopened as a two-way road leading into the Asbury Theological Seminary’s property.
In March, The Allen Company projected the construction cost at $2,444,354.46 with a final completion date of Sept. 28.
However, the city has added to the project and is allotted up to $2.8 million of the grant money, 20 percent matched by the seminary. Carlstedt said he feels they will most likely use all $2.8 million to make the streetscape the absolute best it can be for that amount of money.
“The construction is hard on the community — we recognize that — but the community is very glad there is this public-works project and is willing to tolerate a lot.” he said. “People are being kind to us about (the construction), and we’ve been responsive to their complaints if they were reasonable, but for the most part, they understand and they want this project.”
Beside the initial traffic impact and detour, Carlstedt said he feels very few residents were truly inconvenienced by construction.
Even though only the seminary and eight homes are directly impacted by the construction, Carlstedt said water and sewer cannot be shut off to one area without affecting several others.
“If anything, a house did not go without water for any more that six hours on any given day,” he said. “It’s really inconvenient, but once it’s complete, people will forget about the inconvenience and enjoy the pedestrian mall.”