Work on improvements to Lincoln Boulevard have begun and likely will continue through the summer, a key city staffer said April 24.
Ray Leftwich, the city of Lincoln construction manager, told Downtown Lincoln Association members that the project was starting at Sixth Street. Ground broke on the project April 20.
“We’re putting down the concrete today,” Leftwich said. “We’re going to keep the process moving, get the work done and move down the street.”
Leftwich said there have been a few obstacles.
“It’s a 100-plus-year-old road,” Leftwich said. “We’ve found footings for abandoned street lights and places where the asphalt is a foot thick.”
Leftwich said CalTrans had done much of the work on the street before the Highway 65 Bypass went in.
Jim McCarthy, the project manager, said he would minimize any inconvenience to businesses on Lincoln Boulevard.
“We will of course have some bumps along the road,” McCarthy said. “But we will never detour traffic off Lincoln Boulevard.”
McCarthy said exploratory digging or “potholing” will be done at various locations. He said this is done to get an idea what is underneath the roadway, such as a slab of granite that was discovered 12 inches down.
“There are things under the sidewalk we may not be aware of,” said McCarthy.
“So far, everything we’ve dug up is in the category of junk,” Leftwich said.
McCarthy added that notices would go out to businesses one week before construction began on their block.
Among the improvements being made to the street are ADA approved ramps to allow wheelchairs to access the crosswalks. Also, clay tiles from Gladding, McBean will be used to beautify some corners.
Also, McCarthy said, at no time will businesses be told to close.
“If there is a day a store is closed, we will try to do the work then.” McCarthy said. “The city has impressed upon us the need to minimize the inconvenience to businesses.”
Leftwich said the project has started on the west side of the street because, “it was the easier part of the job.”
“The eastside between Fifth and Sixth streets will be the most difficult phase,” Leftwich said. “The project will wind up in September.
“It will be an inconvenience this summer but I really believe it’s a beneficial project,” Leftwich added. “It will give the downtown area some pop.”