Lamar’s Main Street Project, 99.5% Complete

The View from the New Main Street, Looking South



They’re gone! Construction workers, flag holders, earth moving machines, concrete trucks…all seemed to disappear as of late Friday, December 14th.  The last observed task was steam-blasting away the temporary road stripes at the north end of Main, around Loaf and Jug and putting down some new paint for lanes now that almost all the median dividers have been removed.

Adding the Finishing Touches to a Lengthy Project

Gone are the detours down alleys and the temporary delays at intersections, no more watching 18 wheelers make a wrong turn on Maple, on Beech, on or on Olive Streets, watching pedestrians try to jay-walk Main only to be stymied by the orange plastic safety fence bordering sidewalks that they couldn’t hop over, the sound of jack-hammers and that constant ‘beep-beep-beep’ of trucks and other vehicles as they ripped out the old asphalt and put down new concrete…all gone! As the road construction continued northwards, business owners and employees along South Main would mutter, “Good, they’re gone.  Now they have to deal with them across the tracks!”  Business owners also wondered just how much revenue they may have lost when there was no Main Street access to their front doors.

Digging Up the Road

The refrain to the work crews at Main and Olive for a few days was, “Hey, find any tunnels down there yet?” If they did, they didn’t document it, but some old wooden piping, dating 80 or 90 years back was dug out of the ground as new electrical conduit and water mains replaced the antiquated pipe which had a habit of breaking and gurgling up through the street over the past few years.  All of that should now be in the past as motorists, residential and commercial, can drive from the Lamar Canal up to the Lamar Middle School to Park Street with no interruptions.  It may take a while for drivers to finagle the absence of a median when facing head-on traffic or for pedestrians to realize they have nothing to stand on when they try to cross the road.  Only one safety median remains, separating Love’s on the west, from Pizza Hut and Wallace Gas on the east; preventing semis from crossing the street at the wrong spot.

Fragmented Wooden Pipe

American Civil Constructors has completed the final of the four phased project that began on the south end of Main Street, a comprehensive, $10 million-plus project that got underway in the spring of 2017. It will provide a more durable roadway as well as water and electric infrastructure that should last for decades.  Other changes along with the removal of the medians was placement of the streetlights to the sidewalks, ‘bump-out’s at intersections that allow some space between parked cars versus oncoming traffic, the addition of more ADA sidewalks and a more visible warning light array at the Middle School for students crossing the street.  Some additional touches are still expected according to Angie Cue, Lamar’s Community Development Director.  A CDOT grant, when finalized, will fund improvements along Main Street such as new benches, new trash receptacles and shrubbery.  “We hope to have that accomplished by this spring so we can provide the city and residents with a more user-friendly atmosphere,” she said recently.

By Russ Baldwin



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