Construction in Anoka’s downtown continues to move ahead on schedule.
There really haven’t been any big surprises with the more than five-month project to completely reconstruct East Main Street, said Public Services Director Greg Lee.
The $5.8 million face lift started April 23 and is expected to wrap up in October.
“Things are going really well, especially now that the weather is cooperating,” said Lee. While workers were experiencing extreme heat this week, earlier in the project constant rains presented a different kind of challenge.
The contractor has largely stayed on schedule, except for some delays in the brick work on the south side of Main Street. Sidewalks, curbs and gutters are largely complete on the south side.
“We stuck to a 21-day schedule for each phase, which I think has been something the businesses have been able to tolerate,” said Lee. “The contractor has been working some long hours and weekends to keep up.”
A big advantage has been the experience the city has with the general contractor Northwest Asphalt, which also did the work on West Main Street.
“So we have a good working relationship and they are very familiar with the city’s expectations,” said Lee.
Right now the focus has been on the completion of the city hall parking lot and plaza in time for the July 14 Anoka Riverfest and Craft Fair.
“The plan will be to have things buttoned up and cleaned up (around city hall) in time for Riverfest,” said Lee.
This includes the completion of the grand staircase, although it will have a temporary handrail until the custom built permanent rail is finished.
Lee said there will still be some finishing work to complete when Riverfest rolls around, including the addition of some benches.
Once work is complete along the outside lanes of East Main, including the sidewalks and curbing, work will shift to the center lanes. Currently most of the construction is focused on the north side of the street, between Third and Seventh avenues.
Lee said he did have concerns about this phase particularly in front of the Anoka County Government Center, but so far things have been going well.
It has helped that the main entrance for the building had been shifted to Third Avenue, rather than Main Street, said Lee. That change happened about two years ago and was not associated with the construction project but instead to improve security at the building.
Monday the Anoka City Council will see the first change order on the project. The council will weigh in on the addition of a proposed fence in front of the Church of St. Stephen, which was originally included as a bid alternate but pulled from the project until land ownership issues could be sorted out.
Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]