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Battered South Main pavement slated for summer facelift

The city plans to rehabilitate the concrete of South Main Street during the summer, reworking the road surface from Locust Street to Cemetery Road. <i>Image courtesy of Google, River Falls Journal</i>1 / 2
The concrete on South Main Street varies in age by segments, with the oldest at age 40 years and the youngest at 20 years.2 / 2

Documents coming recently to the City Council reveal that River Falls plans to redo the concrete road surface of South Main Street from Locust Street to Cemetery Road during the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The city will hold an informational public meeting about the concrete-pavement maintenance project 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, at City Hall, 222 Lewis St. for people to learn more about the plans.

City Engineer Reid Wronski said the meeting is the time to discuss the project and ask any questions or raise any concerns.

He agrees that too often, people only become aware of the project just before it happens or after it gets underway, at which point it's too late to make changes or try to accommodate special requests.

River Falls will spend about $435,000 to resurface the concrete pavement along the stretch of Main Street from Locust Street to Cemetery Road.

The money comes from a deal cut with the state Department of Transportation in which it paid River Falls a sum of money for having used Cascade Avenue as a state-road route for many years.

The project area includes three sections of concrete that are different ages.

The roadway concrete from Locust Street to the bridge over the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic River was laid in 1992. The bridge itself and the approaches to it were put down in 1982. The pavement from the bridge southward to Cemetery Road dates to 1972. Wronski said effectively reworking the concrete now will give it another 20 years of life and protect it from 'failure.' He said the focus is on the concrete and making it last.

"We don't have much concrete pavement in town," he stated.

While the street is ripped open, maintenance crews will check many of the elements beneath and nearby it.

For example, the work will include examining the condition of joints and sealing, manholes, catch basins, curbs, sidewalks, road striping, ADA accessibility and some traffic-signal technology.

Wronski confirmed that the signals along the project work by way of loops in the concrete that sense vehicles at the intersection. He said it is logical to check equipment like that while it's exposed.

"We're trying to make it a complete project while we're out there," Wronski said.

He expects the project to follow about a six-week time frame between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when school is out and traffic not as heavy. The engineer said the plan includes keeping the roadway open, with at least one lane of traffic moving in each direction.

"Our intent is to try and accomplish the work under traffic," he said, adding that since lanes will be narrow, there could be a detour for large trucks.

Wronski confirmed that the project plan does not include any new traffic signals.

One planned change related to traffic control is to restripe the section of Main Street between Locust Street and the South Fork bridge to create better traffic flow.

For example, the desire would be to have a through lane for north- and south-bound traffic, as well as a center turn lane.

Wronski said the actual work, which goes out for bid after the Jan. 29 public meeting, is "fairly specialized" since it isn't needed often.

He said many firms become expert in these types of projects, working like a 'well-oiled machine' to complete complex projects on high-traffic roads and under tight time constraints.