MICHELLE MONROE, St. Albans Messenger
“There’s been a little bit of a hiccup with the pedestrian lights,”
ST. ALBANS CITY — While work on the downtown streetscape project has slowed until the end of the week, the annual paving in St. Albans City is complete.
Work is also about 30 percent complete on the most requested sidewalk project in the city – Aldis Street.
The city is constructing a new sidewalk along the north side of the street that will extend past the railroad tracks before connecting with an existing sidewalk on the south side of the street. The city’s Director of Public Works Allen Robtoy expects the work to be finished in two to three weeks.
The city also plans to replace the asphalt sidewalk on the north side of Brainerd Street this year. Work there is set to begin in the first week of September, said Robtoy.
The downtown streetscape project has hit a temporary lull while the city waits for specialized parts to be delivered for a new water line on South Main Street south of Lake Street. Those parts are expected by the end of the week, according to Robtoy. In the meantime, brickwork is being laid on the sidewalk in front of Rail City Market, along with other detail work.
As part of the project, the city removed several layers of existing asphalt on Main Street and has laid down a base or shim coat along the areas where there will be no more digging.
Once work has been completed south of Lake Street, a shim coat will be added there as well and then a final topcoat of pavement.
Paving is complete on those streets that were included in the city’s expanded annual road maintenance budget. This fiscal year, the city increased the budget to $250,000 a year, with the intent of having all of the city’s streets in good condition within 10 years.
Barlow, Messenger and Smith streets have been repaved, along with Lakeview Terrace. City staff is now painting crosswalks and stop lines on those streets, applying topsoil to the edges of the road and repairing any damage done to driveways.
The traffic lights at the intersection of Newton and Main streets, which were upgraded as part of the Walmart project, have been restored to their former cycle, allowing for a dedicated left turn onto Lower Newton from North Main Street.
However, the lights are not yet fully functioning. “There’s been a little bit of a hiccup with the pedestrian lights,” said Robtoy.
Steps that were part of the Lower Newton sidewalk on the south side have been removed and are being replaced with a sloping sidewalk and handrail. “It’s not ideal,” said Robtoy. Ultimately, a switchback, of handicapped-like ramp, like the one on the Church Street side of Taylor Park will need to be incorporated into the sidewalk, he said.
The need for pedestrian lights also may delay the opening of the Lake and South Main Street intersection. Currently, the intersection of Lake and S. Main is closed to vehicular traffic. New traffic lights have been installed and are being programmed this week. However, the pedestrian lights are not yet ready and city officials are reluctant to open the intersection without a safe route across for pedestrians.