Residents voice concerns as 16th Avenue resurfacing continues

Published: Friday, August 8, 2014 at 5:39 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 8, 2014 at 5:39 p.m.

As construction for the county’s Northwest 16th Avenue resurfacing project continues, residents have called in with questions and concerns about some of the work that has and hasn’t been done so far.

The project includes improvements to a four-mile stretch of road located between Northwest 57th Terrace and Northwest 13th Street.

Northwest 16th Avenue is also known in certain places along the path as Northwest 16th Boulevard and Northwest 23rd Avenue.

In July, the contractor did some sidewalk widening along the road, although widening efforts as well as signal work will continue this month, according to a county news release.

Drivers should expect nighttime lane closures, and the corridor also will be reduced in each direction to one lane from around Northwest 31st Drive to Northwest 22nd Street for work involving clay removal, water main relocation and gravity wall replacement.

Traffic patterns from around Northwest 58th Boulevard to Northwest 54th Terrace also will be altered eventually in order to finish roadway reconstruction and widening, according to the news release.

Although prior news releases from the county noted the construction was expected to be completed by the end of this year, its latest report says the project should be finished in February.

Transportation Engineering Manager Brian Singleton said the county has received calls from residents with inquiries and concerns about the way the sidewalk widening was done and why two sections of 16th Avenue remain untouched.

The sidewalk widening was designed so the entire sidewalk didn’t have to be replaced in order to reduce the cost of the project, Singleton said. Workers added a small strip of concrete to the original sidewalk to widen it. At the end of the project, they’ll pressure-wash and clean the sidewalks so everything should look relatively the same in color, Singleton said.

The sidewalk along 16th Avenue was originally five feet wide but will be 7 feet wide entirely by the end of the project, although the widening is ongoing right now, Singleton said.

There is a bevel at the end of the widened section where the sidewalk shifts from one slope to another to match the curb, he said.

Some residents feel the widening work has created a drop-off or a hazard and thus presents a safety issue, Singleton said, but he emphasized the design isn’t a hazard and meets state safety standards.

As for why two sections of 16th Avenue have been left untouched, Singleton said those areas require full-depth reconstruction. That work is expected to begin in early September.

Residents also have called in about noise related to nighttime construction and have asked why their mailboxes are being replaced.

The county is required to ensure mailboxes meet the necessary requirements when it does roadway projects, which usually requires replacing mailboxes, he explained.

“Everybody’s not always happy with that,” he said.

As for nighttime noise, Singleton told The Sun the county has asked the contractor to minimize the noise as much as possible, although certain work has to be done at night in order to impact the traveling public less.

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