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Rain puts damper on intersection plans, parade route

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Friday’s steady, heavy rain came at an inconvenient time for construction workers trying to renovate Fourth Street. It all but washed away hopes of opening one of the city’s busiest downtown intersections for Saturday’s Ethnic Expo parade.

“We’re looking at probably another week and a half until that intersection (Fourth and Washington streets) will be open,” City Engineer Dave Hayward said Monday.

City officials have sketched an alternate route for the parade, which starts at 11 a.m. at Eighth and Brown streets and ends at Fifth and Brown streets. The original route used Washington Street between Eighth and Third streets. The rerouted, slightly shorter version takes the parade route west on Fifth Street to Brown Street.

The alternate route will be used only if the intersection remains closed Saturday.

“We’re still beating and banging and doing the best we can,” said Gary Davis, foreman for Rieth-Riley Construction, the $1.7 million renovation project’s primary contractor.

Construction workers need to pour concrete and pave the intersection with brick before reopening the crossing.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen, to be honest with you,” Davis said of Saturday’s scheduled opening. “But we’re going to give it our very best shot.”

The general contractor is sticking to a projected completion date of Nov. 7.

Hayward said the city is running out of time to make changes to gates intended to close off portions of Fourth Street for large downtown events.

Louis Joyner, a local architect, and Kelly Wilson, director of the Indiana University Center of Art and Design-Columbus, met with a small group of city officials last week to raise the possibility of altering design plans for four sets of two gates.

Hayward, Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown and Columbus Redevelopment Commission Executive Director Heather Pope are expected to make a final decision on that proposal by Wednesday, according to Hayward. The gates are projected to cost nearly $200,000.

Timing is a critical factor in the decision, Hayward said Monday.

“The underground work and the foundations have to go in.”

Ethnic Expo shift considered

Construction at the intersection of Washington and Fourth streets might not be completed by Saturday, which would mean changing the route of that day’s Ethnic Expo Parade. Here are the parade route options:

Original Route

Start at Eighth and Brown streets

East on Eighth Street to Washington Street

South on Washington Street to Third Street

West on Third Street to Brown Street

North on Brown Street to Fifth Street

End at Fifth and Brown streets

Alternate Route

Start at Eighth and Brown streets

East on Eighth Street to Washington Street

South on Washington Street to Fifth Street

West on Fifth Street to Brown Street

End at Fifth and Brown streets

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