One of the biggest road projects in Carson City’s history gets underway this week.
Downtown corridor construction — officially called the Carson Street Urban Design Project — breaks ground Monday.
The goal is to transform downtown Carson City into a more pedestrian-friendly destination for shopping, dining and special events.
The project is scheduled to be finished in time for the Nevada Day celebrations in late October, according to Carson City Public Works.
“We will have a fully functioning awesome Nevada Day,” Daniel Rotter, engineering manager with the city said in February.
When completed, Carson Street, from William to Fifth streets, will be narrowed to single lanes in each direction with a middle turn lane. The median will be removed and sidewalks widened, bike lanes added and some street parking created.
Q&D Construction, which was awarded the $8.1 million contract last month, begins work Monday, starting with removing and replacing the 50-year old water main that runs underneath the center of Carson Street.
For the first few months of construction, Carson Street will be reduced to single lanes both north and southbound, starting with the stretch between Williams and Robinson streets.
After a few weeks, that will be extended to Fifth Street, according to Rotter.
Also starting this week, Q&D will work on storm and sewer utilities, which run under the street east to west.
That will cause some road closures, starting with Sophia and Ann streets this week.
Rotter said the closures will be intermittent throughout the construction and Q&D will make every effort to block off no more than two consecutive side streets at a time.
In about three weeks, Q&D will begin work on the sidewalks, curbs and gutters, starting with the west side of Carson Street and working north to south.
To accommodate businesses, Rotter said Q&D will demolish and pour sidewalks on off hours and cover with plywood during business hours for continued access as much as possible.
The city has set up a separate web site — carsonproud.com — to provide up-to-date information on the project.
For example, a construction map at the site shows an aerial view of the project and features pop-up items describing road and lane closures or any other current information.
Anyone can sign up for email updates at the site’s “cone zone,” which will also be printed each Sunday in the Nevada Appeal, beginning today. Questions can be texted to 31996 or left on a hotline phone at 283-7056.
Also, Carson City Connect, an application for reporting problems available at the city’s web site, carson.org, will now have a separate topic category for the downtown corridor construction.
A ribbon cutting event is scheduled 11 a.m. Monday at the corner of Third and Carson streets.
The spot is the future site of Bob McFadden Plaza, which will be created with the permanent closure of that block of Third Street.
Construction on that won’t start until after St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, which is a big business day for Firkin & Fox, located there.
The city has tried to work with local businesses and plan construction as much as possible around their schedules.
Last week Rotter and Q&D’s Will Morgan met with about 40 or so local business people to try to allay any concerns they had about the construction.
Downtown businesses remain both wary and welcoming.
Mark Schmidt, manager, Carson Jewelry and Loan, said he has concerns about access but the city has addressed them.
“They’re putting plywood on sidewalks and signage for businesses so pedestrians and vehicles will have access,” said Schmidt, whose business is located on the west side of Carson Street, between Telegraph and Proctor streets. “If that takes place there’s no reason not to come down here.”
In the end, he said, the project should be an improvement from the recent past.
“Just a few years ago we had high volume of vehicles with none ever stopping and zero pedestrian traffic,” said Schmidt. “We had nowhere to go but up.”
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