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Fourth Street delayed again


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Fourth Street won’t be ready for Turkey Day.

Wrapping up the $1.7 million paving and beautification project — and reopening Fourth Street to traffic — won’t happen until early next week, city engineer David Hayward said Monday.

He had hoped it would be done by Thanksgiving.

Workers had made good progress over the weekend, Hayward said, but “I’m guessing it will be next week” before the job is done.

At least two-dozen workers were on the job Monday morning, making a final pouring of concrete and leveling stones of various sizes on the western leg of the two-block beautification project between Washington and Jackson streets. No paving stones — the top layer of the road work — are installed on that block yet.

Timeline

Sept. 4: $1.7 million beautification project began for Fourth Street between Jackson and Franklin streets. New amenities to include benches, planters, trees and light poles.

Sept. 12: Intersection of Fourth and Washington streets closes for construction.

Oct. 18: Intersection of Fourth and Washington streets reopens to traffic.

Nov. 27: The Indiana Department of Transportation’s deadline to have the project completed, although that date could be extended further if needed to compensate for additional weather delays.

Nov. 29: Street-reopening event with high school bands and choirs among those invited to participate.

Meanwhile, work on the easternmost block (between Washington and Franklin streets) is much further along. Paving bricks are already installed on that stretch, leaving just a few extras to be done such as putting in light pole bases, finishing planters for trees and doing some electrical work.

The burst of activity was a welcome sight for downtown shop owners who see the Fourth Street project as something that will attract more shoppers and sightseers to the area.

“It makes you want to get out there and lay a few paving bricks yourself,” said Tom Dell of Dell Brothers’ men’s clothing, 416 Washington. “Once they’re finished, you’ll really see the full effect of this corner looking like a downtown plaza.”

Officially, the Fourth Street contract calls for a Nov. 27 completion date, though the contractor could seek weather-related extensions beyond that.

Work crews lost one full day to rainfall last week as nasty weather on Nov. 12 led to concrete, dirt and brick-paving crews canceling their

assignments.

Gary Davis, project superintendent for general contractor Rieth-Riley, said crews probably experienced delays of 10 to 12 days due to weather issues since the Fourth Street work began Sept. 4.

Originally, Davis had hoped the work would be done by Nov. 7, but weather and other factors made that schedule unattainable.

Now, city officials are planning a Nov. 29 grand reopening with music and other festivities to christen the two-block corridor.

Columbus city officials and downtown merchants envision the project transforming Fourth Street into a more pedestrian-friendly zone capable of hosting citywide festivals and attracting consumers downtown more often.

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