BUSINESS DISTRICT NEARING COMPLETION
JEREMY WALTNER – PUBLISHER
The Main Street business district could be open to traffic by the first week of September.
If everything goes according to plan, that is.
That’s the report from Paul Korn of Sayre Associates, the Sioux Falls engineering firm overseeing the city of Freeman’s Main Street $5.1M project that has been underway since late April, when workers with Slowey Construction began tearing out Railway Street before moving to the primary downtown roadway. In the months since, the street and sidewalks have been torn out, utilities have been replaced and new concrete has been poured from Fifth Street north to Railway. Meanwhile, utility work has been the focus north of Railway to the North County Road (Phase 2 of the project), with the new roadway expected to be installed by general contractor Reede Construction after Labor Day.
The project is about a month behind schedule.
“We’re in unusual times,” Korn said. “A lot of times it’s weather-related delays; obviously weather hasn’t been an issue this year, but a lot of it is supply-chain issue delays and everybody’s stretched thin in the contractor world and getting people here to do their work in a timely manner has been a challenge, as well.”
“We understand the frustrations, but we do appreciate everyone’s patience.”
On Tuesday, workers with Triple R Paving were pouring new sidewalks on the west side of Main Street — a job that is nearly complete. All that remains on Phase 1 is the work on the extended curbs at the intersections of Main and Fourth and Main and Third streets and the pouring of a ribbon of exposed aggregate near the roadway, which will be done by a different subcontractor whose focus is on specialized, more decorative concrete.
“It will create a nice appearance when it’s done,” Korn said on Tuesday. “We’re hoping to have things wrapped up in two, two-and-a-half weeks to where we can open it to traffic,” Korn said on Tuesday. “Possibly by Labor Day, but at this point there are no guarantees.”
As for the light fixtures, those are being installed by NorthWestern Energy and won’t likely be in until next spring; “A lot of that is due to the supply chain issues,” Korn said, noting that temporary lighting will be installed in the interim.
Korn also said he is hopeful that the cement shortage will not be an issue for the remainder of the project and that Paul Weidenbach of Weidenbach Concrete Works has said Freeman’s Main Street is a priority for them.
“But there are certain things that are out of everyone’s control, so we’ll have to see how that develops,” Korn said. “But we’re optimistic we can still get the project completed this year.”
That includes the blocks adjacent to Main Street both west and east on Third and Fourth streets, which should move more quickly than Main Street itself because there isn’t the amount of underground work and the roadway will be mostly asphalt, “so we don’t have the supply chain issues that we have with the cement.”
Korn said, at the end of the day, Freeman will have a beautiful new downtown roadway.
“We’re very pleased with the quality of the work that’s occurring out there,” he said. “We wish it could be done in a more timely manner, but ultimately, when it’s all said and done, it’s the final appearance that’s going to matter.”