Out With the Old, in With the Blue

New Lines Are Installed at Main and Olive

The second phase of US Highway 287 construction through downtown Lamar has been underway for about three weeks now and it seems to be moving at a quicker pace than the initial phase of roadwork between Park and Oak Streets.

Old Waterline at Excavation Site

Crews recently installed a waterline on the south side of the railroad tracks to the south side of Beech Street and with that complete, one-way, one-lane traffic has been shifted to the east side of Main, allowing for utility work on the west side of the street.

Fragmented Wooden Pipe

The concrete and asphalt roadway has been stripped clean down to the dirt and the excavation has brought up some unique pieces of history in the form of wooden waterlines, that until recently supplied the water needs of the downtown area. One of the American Civil Constructors crew said rounded lengths of what was either redwood or cedar was formed into a hollow log and banded tightly with metal strips and covered with what looks like tar for waterproofing.  As the water initially flowed through the pipe, it expanded the wood, creating a tighter seal along the pipe until it was dug up. He added he thought that the wood, once exposed, would begin to deterioriate.  In the meantime, the new waterlines, blue plastic, have been set in place and connected and buried along the roadway.

The barriers have made it a bit more confusing as local residents, motorists and pedestrians alike, have found access to the other side of the road difficult to navigate from point to point. The median barrier currently extends from Oak Street up to the train tracks.  Crossings are now being made at Parmenter to the south and Hickory to the north.  Increased traffic, especially on Hickory and 6th, calls for motorists to beware of traffic signs at that intersection.  One early morning accident occurred there this past Thursday.

Businesses along the downtown stretch have had mixed reviews to the impact on pedestrians in their stores. Those that have sufficient space along the alleyway allow customer parking in designated areas and times.  Weather conditions played havoc with the first phase of roadwork through the fall and winter, but there has been only a minimum of precipitation since the start of the year to hinder the progress being made on the second phase.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarFeaturedPublic SafetyTransportationUtilitiesWeather


About the Author: