Sewer project to close First Avenue

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Sandpoint city officials detailed an upcoming sewer main replacement on Tuesday that will close sections of First Avenue after the holiday weekend. In addition, Cedar Street will be open to motorists beginning this weekend, with intermittent closures throughout the month of September. (Photo by MARY MALONE)

SANDPOINT —  As Cedar Street gets ready to open to motorists, sections of First Avenue will close this fall as the city continues its sewer main replacement project.

On Tuesday, the section of First Avenue between Church and Main streets will close to motorists until Sept. 15. Construction will then continue north, rounding the corner from First and Main, to the intersection of Cedar Street and Second Avenue. That section will be closed to motorists from Sept. 15 through mid-October.

"The sewer project is kicking off right after Labor Day ... there is going to be a lot of activity those first couple days," Dan Tadic, city engineer, told downtown business owners during a meeting at Cedar Street Bistro on Tuesday.

The sewer project was initiated last fall with work taking place on First Avenue south of the Church and Bridge Street intersection. Construction includes excavation, installing new pipe, backfill, compaction, and asphalt paving. During construction, temporary bypass pumping will be used to avoid disruption to sewer services in the area. Businesses and sidewalks will be open during construction as well. Work will take place from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton said since First Street will be closed between Church and Main through Sept. 15, a new event coming to Sandpoint will take advantage of that closure. A&P's Bar and Grill will host the American Cornhole League, a professional cornhole tournament on the national circuit, on Sept. 15. The tournament will take place between the two intersections of First and Church, and First and Main.

As for the Cedar Street work, crews are placing curbs, installing various conduits, and backfilling this week. The road will be open to motorists in time for Labor Day weekend, said Randy McDougall with Earthworks Northwest, the city's contractor on the Downtown Revitalization Project. It will remain open after the holiday with intermittent lane closures and flagging between Second and Fifth avenues while crews continue placing sidewalk and pavers, backfilling, and installing street furniture.

As for the paving schedule on Cedar Street, Sandpoint Public Works director Amanda Wilson said crews will pave at night, shutting down the entire length of the street from Second to Fifth avenues starting around 6 p.m. This will take place over the course of two nights, and Stapleton said the dates will be announced 24-48 hours in advance of the closures. All of the street furniture and other punch list items for the first phase of the Downtown Revitalization Project should be wrapped up by Oct. 1, Wilson said.

Between the upcoming sewer work, and wrapping up work on Cedar, Wilson said downtown will be congested in September.

"This entire corridor is going to be constrained for about two to three weeks," Wilson said.

The next phase of the Downtown Revitalization Project is slated to begin in the spring of 2019, going from where crews left off at Second and Cedar to "at least" Bridge Street and First, Wilson said. The city is looking at extending the project to Pine Street, which is dependent on available funding. The second phase will mirror the improvements done to Cedar Street this year as far as sidewalk reconstruction, stormwater, street furniture and more.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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