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Downtown street project set to begin Monday; deadline: May

Daily News Staff Writer

The first phase of the Front, Mill and Stedman Street reconstruction project will officially begin Monday with an estimated completion date in May.

The range of construction work for this phase will be from about the Stedman Street Bridge to Thomas Street.

According to a press release, Secon and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities “will be removing sidewalks and preparing the sidewalk area for new concrete curb/gutter and sidewalk(s).”

DOT Design Manager Chris Goins told the Daily News back in January that the final contract for Secon was about $10 million. He also explained that this is just the first of multiple planned renovations downtown.

“This is a full rebuild of the street. We'll be widening the sidewalks primarily on the left hand side as you're headed south. Improvements will include (curb extensions) to reduce the length of pedestrian-distinct crossing and we are also moving some of the pedestrian crossings, such as on Mill Street, further down from the hill as you head up Deermount (Street), which will improve the sight distance there.

“I know that pedestrian issues have been a major concern, so that will definitely help in that area improve the pedestrian crossing there,” Goins added.

A rough timetable of construction is as follows:

• March to May 2018 — Sidewalk and storm sewer work on Stedman Street from Stedman Street bridge to Deermount Street.

• Spring 2018 — Finish roadwork on Stedman Street from the bridge to Deermount Street; Stedman Street bridge surface work; subsurface work on other bridges.

• Winter 2018/2019 — Work begins on the sidewalk and roadbed from tunnel to start of previously rebuilt section.

• Summer 2019 — Final paving, bridge deck work.

• August 2019 — Estimated completion.

Following talks with the City of Ketchikan and hoteliers in the area, DOT agreed that, when the summer rolls around, it would not do work that is too noisy past 1 a.m., although, that time can be extended to 6 a.m. for road paving and striping, work that is typically much quieter.

“We want to keep people in business down there,” Goins said. “We paid a lot more for that with the contract and the bidding on that, but we felt that was worth it to try and keep people working and employed and moving through. And it was worth every dime.”

According to DOT spokesperson Aurah Landau, the project was originally supposed to begin in October of last year, but because of right of way issues, the date had to be pushed back.

A Secon press release explains that there will be changes with parking and traffic in the area due to the upcoming construction.

“There will be changes to traffic patterns, pedestrian traffic, parking and access to businesses in that section on the north bound lane,” the release reads, “so please follow all signs for detours and lane adjustments.”

For more information contact the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.