Record rainfall delays Sixth Avenue project completion

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 22, 2013 

The summer’s record rainfall has bogged down the city’s Sixth Avenue flood abatement/streetscape project, pushing the projected completion date back to around the end of the year, Deputy City Manager David Arrington said Thursday.

The $36 million project, which stretches from an area near the Civic Center to 14th Street, was expected to be completed in the early fall. But the huge amount of rain this summer has caused countless construction delays.

“When you’ve got the street torn up and you get several inches of rain, you’ve got to wait for it to dry out,” Arrington said.

The summer has in fact been the wettest on record, said WRBL Chief Meteorologist Bob Jeswald. The city saw 7.32 inches of rain in June, 8.81 inches in July and 8.57 so far in August, Jeswald said. The total of 24.7 inches is officially most ever recorded here for those three months, and we’re not through August yet.

“Since we’ve been keeping records locally in 1948, we now have the wettest summer on record,” Jeswald said. “And by the next couple of days, we’ll add more to the rain bucket.”

The good news, Arrington said, is that practically all the underground work is complete. Except for a short section of 11th Street where it intersects with Sixth Avenue, all the pipe has been laid.

The balance of the work involves hardscape improvements, streetscaping, crossing improvements, signal work and then finishing up the road work up through 15th Street.

Arrington said roads now closed will gradually reopen as the finish work progresses northward.

The project was conceived as a way to stop chronic flooding in the Liberty District, which some observers say has kept developers from investing in the area.

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