Two downtown-area streets that have carried Prescott’s traffic since the Great Depression era are in line for a complete reconstruction, starting in the next week or two.
Construction is expected to begin by about mid-January on the steep stretch of South Washington Street from Gurley to Acker Park, along with the section of the intersecting Goodwin Street, from Mount Vernon to Penn Avenue.
In some cases, the street surfaces date back to the 1930s, City Construction Services Manager Tim Sherwood said, noting that the deteriorating surface on Goodwin Street was “an old WPA (Works Progress Administration) concrete street.”
Prescott Public Works Director Craig Dotseth added that the underground water and sewer lines, which will be replaced as a part of the project, were installed “pre-1940.”
The Prescott City Council awarded a $3.9 million contract to Capital Improvements, LLC, in December, and the city expects to issue the notice-to-proceed with construction by the week of Jan. 14.
The project is scheduled to run through much of the coming year, with a completion date expected in October 2019.
City Council members stressed that the South Washington Street had languished on the city’s list of needed projects for years.
Prior to awarding the construction contract, the Public Works Department conducted a major “right-sizing” process on the design of the South Washington reconstruction. Dotseth told the City Council that the redesign/downsizing process cut about $1 million from the cost of the project.
The right-sizing stemmed from direction from the City Council to the Public Works Department in December 2017 to scale back some of the underground drainage improvements and aesthetic amenities that had been included in the design of a number of upcoming downtown-Prescott street projects.
The goal of the downsizing was to bring down the estimated costs of upcoming projects, and to get more of them out to bid.
Councilman Phil Goode noted that he had heard complaints from some residents about the large number of construction projects that have been underway at the same time in 2018. But, he and other city officials say the busy construction schedule is needed to complete the long-planned-for projects.
“I commend you for getting another project ready to go,” Goode told Dotseth. Of the previous design for the projects, he added, “In my opinion, they were over-engineered.”
As a part of the right-sizing, the South Washington/Goodwin project will retain the high curbs that were a historic part of the design of Prescott’s streets.
Sherwood pointed out that curbs of as high as 12 inches were designed to serve as a part of the community’s drainage system. Although storm drains will be added as necessary on Washington/Goodwin, he said the curb height would be maintained.
Dotseth told the City Council: “We are replacing the sidewalks and curbs-and-gutters, but the elevation (of the curbs will be maintained).”
The South Washington/Goodwin project is just the latest in a series of downtown-area street-and-utility projects that have taken place over the past year or so, totaling more than $25 million.
Also currently underway is the nearby $3.3 million reconstruction of portions of Carleton and Cortez streets, which got underway in December and is expected to be complete by April.