Paving could finish before Christmas
City officials now say paving of Main Street could be finished before Christmas.
After meeting Nov. 13 with representatives of downtown beautification project contractor RD Johnson Excavating, Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said the contractors needed just two consecutive days of good weather — with ground temperatures warmer than 55 degrees — between now and Christmas to pave Main Street from Sixth to 10th streets.
Last week, Beatty said she didn’t think paving would be done until spring, but project manager Mike Kesinger told officials at the meeting he wanted to pave as much of Main Street as possible rather come back in the spring.
The average high temperature in November is 54 degrees, while the average high in December is 42 degrees.
The project began July 7 and was set to be finished on Dec. 2. The project contract was extended by 10 days last week because RD Johnson was hired to make corrections to the now-condemned wall on the east side of the 700 block of Main Street.
Work on the east side of the street was scheduled to move to the west side of Main Street in mid-October, but didn’t switch sides until last week.
The project also could affect snow plowing and salting of the same stretch of road.
The new sidewalks need to be dry for a certain amount of time before they are chemically sealed. The city is trying to find out from the chemical manufacturer when sealant can be used.
If the sealant can’t be used before winter, only sand would be placed on the streets and sidewalks because salt could cause damage to the unsealed areas.
In the case that paving doesn’t occur before Christmas, the county would not be plowing the stretch of road because the crosswalks that protrude from the street would damage the plowing blade.
The city will meet with the county Dec. 2 to resolve the issues.
Beatty said her main concern with the project wasn’t the paving of the streets, but the lack of permanent light poles. Miscommunication between the city and electrical engineers caused the poles to be ordered about two months late.
Like the CPA Picnic and EudoraFest, the project will make for an understated Christmas celebration on Main Street, where light poles typically are decorated.
“The celebrations were altered, but did it harm those celebrations? No,” Beatty said. “These are all things we anticipated might happen because of the construction project — we always knew these celebrations might be impacted.”
There won’t be any Christmas decorations and lights on the temporary poles because the decorations won’t fit the poles.
Some downtown merchants likely will decorate their storefronts, but those on the west side of Main Street cannot place any decorative items in front of their stores because the sidewalks will be torn up.
City Hall, though, will be decorated and a lighting ceremony is planned for Dec. 7.
Heather Noble, owner of Broers Flower Shop, said the cost of using Christmas lights also has a bigger impact this year because of the slumping economy.
“It’s too bad that there won’t be anything,” Noble said. “It’s ridiculous because this should be the center of town where we express our holiday cheer, but it’s just another example of where we’re all at in a grander scheme of things.”