Downtown Construction on Schedule; Paving of Main Will Start This Week
The water mains have been installed, and workers prepared this weekend to pave one lane of Main Street through Rochester by the end of this week.
Here's what you need to know right now about the Main Street Makeover: so far, so good.
City officials said last week the project, which is rebuilding part of downtown Rochester's main roadway, is on schedule. For the past two months, crews have been taking apart Main Street, digging far underneath the ground to replace aging water mains and excavate long-forgotten bricks of roads' past.
The road has been closed to traffic completely for three weeks.
But over Memorial Day weekend, work on the new water mains finished up. And last week, crews were busy preparing the road itself for paving work.
Rochester Downtown Development Authority Director Kristi Trevarrow said that the plan is for the outside northbound lane to be paved first, and that will likely happen this week.
The other lanes will follow, and Trevarrow said that while the contractor's target date for the road to be reopened is July 20, most signs point to it reopening before downtown's annual sidewalk sales, which are planned for July 12-14.
"It's looking really good," Trevarrow said.
Workers are also likely to begin installing the first of the stamped concrete crosswalks this week.
During the construction, all downtown businesses are open for business. Back entrances and alleyways have been reconfigured to allow for pedestrian traffic. A detour directs motorists from Walnut Street to Second Street to Water Street.
The construction project has inspired many downtown businesses to get creative. Chomp and O'Connor's Public House have both taken their al fresco dining out back: Chomp built a patio and O'Connor's built a deck, both behind their restaurants.
Several restaurants have new menu items inspired by the construction (Hibachi House, for example, has a construction-crew inspired "Express Lunch.")
In addition, many downtown merchants have sponsored fiberglass sheep as part of the Ewe Revue 2 public art project (we have a complete guide to the sheep here).
Most of the business owners have been full of praise for the construction crews and management — and for the city's planning for the project.
"We couldn't be more impressed with the crew that is working this project. They are working hard seven days a week," said Hillary Heacock, owner of Studio One Salon. "We have had a front row view of all the transitions. I have nothing but great things to say about how this has transpired."
Renee Perkins, owner of The Funky Frog Children's Resale, had similar praise.
"Hopefully this project can serve as a benchmark for other cities," Perkins said.
And then there's the history.
Among the more exciting discoveries from underneath Main Street: vintage 7-Up and Vernor's bottles (both bottled in Detroit in the 1950s); a rusty horseshoe, a water well; and a coal bin full of treasures, including receipts and payroll sheets from a Kroger store that used to be anchored at Fourth and Main streets.
Some of those historic items are on display in the window of a vacant storefront downtown (the former Dragonfly Boutique), which is serving as a headquarters for the construction crew.
More about the project
- The official detour route
- Guide to the Ewe Revue 2 (including a map and photos)
- Answers to the most-asked questions about the project
- Plans for parking meters when the project is finished
- Poll: Should downtown businesses stay open at night?
- Patch Reader Takes a Last Drive Down 'Old' Main Street