After lengthy delays caused by weather, unanticipated infrastructure repairs and a change in general contractors, a crew from Loch Sand & Construction on Wednesday began pouring concrete over a small portion of the graded Depot Street roadbed.
The pour covered only the entryway where Depot junctions with East First Street. But it was a start, and Public Works Director C.E. Goodall said the rest of the $1 million reconstruction project between East First Street and Halsey remains on track for completion sometime around the middle of August.
When the rebuild began last year, city officials ranked South Depot as among the worst streets in town, noting that so little pavement was left it had essentially become a gravel road. Funds to replace the street were allocated from revenue generated by they city's half-cent capital improvement sales tax.
The thoroughfare, when open, carries a significant amount of truck traffic and is flanked by workshops and light industry. It was originally to have been finished this spring.
Goodall said he spoke Tuesday with White Cloud Engineering's Brock Pfost, who said that a major concrete pour is scheduled for late next week. If the weather continues to cooperate, much of the new driving surface should be in place in a little more than two weeks' time.
At this point, Goodall said, even a moderate amount of rain is unlikely to throw the project significantly off its revised schedule.
"We're pretty much just getting the grade and getting ready to pour concrete," he said.
White Cloud took over as the general contractor for Depot Street back in May, essentially trading places with Loch, which now serves as the project's primary subcontractor.
Loch was reportedly forced to withdraw from its contract with the city due to bonding issues but retains primary responsibility for the portion job completed during its watch, mostly underground infrastructure.
Once White Cloud took over, construction was delayed even further due to persistent rains, which also set back a similar, though more extensive, project on South Munn Avenue.
In addition, the Munn effort was thrown off track by faulty "subgrade" soil that is forcing crews to remove tons soft clay in order to create a stable roadbed. The work has added an estimated $475,000 to the project's initial $2 million price tag.
With the advent of drier weather, Goodall said construction on Munn is now progressing and remains on target for completion by Aug. 15. The deadline — the first day of classes for the R-II School District — is significant, since Munn provides the sole vehicular access to Maryville High School.