By Amy Kolb Noyes
Construction work has resumed in downtown St. Albans. The Downtown Streetscape Project began last fall with the east side of Main Street, between Congress and Bank Streets. This construction season work will be completed on the west side, between Kingman and Hudson Streets. The entire project is scheduled to be completed in September.
Work got under way Monday morning, with construction crews taking down old trees, preparing to remove sidewalks, and digging to access utilities.
“We’ve been making contacts with businesses and tenants along the project, and we think everyone is ready to weather the storm of construction and look forward to the final product,” stated Chip Sawyer, the city’s director of planning & development. “It has people pretty excited.”
When the project is complete, St. Albans’ downtown will have new sidewalks, crosswalks, streetlights, trees, trash/recycling bins, bike racks, and stone benches. The project also includes new water, sewer and stormwater utilities, and a traffic signal at Fairfield, Lake and Main Streets will be replaced.
“This will be a significant improvement for downtown,” said City Manager Dominic Cloud. “Downtown Main Street will have a brand new look, adding marketability to our businesses and buildings, our underground utilities will have a much longer useful life, and our busiest intersection will be much better for traffic and pedestrians.”
The total cost of the Downtown Streetscape Project is $3 million, with roughly $2.1 million provided by federal grants.
“This is the largest single public investment in downtown in decades and it is more than worth it,” said Sawyer.
Sawyer added downtown businesses and offices will remain open during the project. Two-way traffic will be maintained on Main Street, until the paving happens in the fall. Some parking will be lost temporarily during the construction, so the city will be allowing 2 ½ hour parking without a permit in the parking lot and behind City Hall.