The Main Street stretch of the massive waterline replacement project started in February with the anticipation it would take several months. Now, one month in, Great Bend Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said there is some grumbling among downtown shopkeepers.
“Since the waterline project has started on Main Street, several of the businesses have called very concerned about the amount of traffic coming into their stores,” she told the City Council Monday night. And, “there is confusion, people are upset about not knowing where to park.”
Hayes said city engineering technician Carl Otter “is doing a fantastic job” about responding to complaints. And the city is doing what it can to inform the public through social media, newspaper and radio promotions.
“We’re saying ‘hey, the stores are still open and don’t let the waterline project keep you from shopping downtown,’” Hayes said. “There is a little bit of a ruffle and we do want to support our stores while this project is happening.”
Allene Owen, who operates Renue Salon and Spa at 1419 Main, was at the council meeting. “What we’re doing in our business with the construction is going on downtown is telling people to please go to the city parking areas and walk to the businesses, that way you are not just going around the block and around the block.”
Owen said these lots are located at the Great Bend Public Library and other downtown locations.
Started the week of Feb. 12, this portion of the work includes Main Street between 10th and 19th streets.
This project is taking place in phases with advance notifications to business and property owners adjacent to the work. Typical construction hours are Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Due to the nature of the work, changes to traffic patterns should be expected. Motorists are encouraged to use extreme caution when traveling in the area of construction and to be aware of workers in the work zone.
“Communication throughout this waterline project is of upmost importance,” said project engineer Josh Golka with Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita, the city on-call engineering firm. “We want to ensure things go smooth for everyone involved.”
The contractor for this project is APAC out of Hutchinson. PEC and APAC will work with property owners and notify them of service interruptions at least 48 hours in advance, with a goal of downtime being limited to periods less than four hours.
“Special thanks to the public for understanding, please let Karl Otter at the City office know if you have special questions or concerns,” Golka said.
As planned, the total project price tag was $6 million, with $4 million for construction, $500,000 for well improvements, and the balance for design, testing, inspection, administration and other expenses. However, so far, the work is under budget.
The work involves the replacement of 40,000 linear feet of waterlines that are 4- to 6-inch cast iron pipes dating back about 60 years.
Otter said the city appreciates the patience of motorists and residents while this work is being performed.
For more information, contact Otter at 620-793-4111.