Midtown Harvard Construction Going Quickly As It Can, City Says

Friday, July 22nd 2016, 5:56 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The next and last phase of a long running construction job is halfway finished.

It's at the intersection of 31st and Harvard.

After years of problems with lumpy pavement at this intersection, the city has come in for a major overhaul -- a bottom-to-top makeover.

Construction crews working at 31st and Harvard are in the heat now - and they'll still be here in the cool of early winter.

That's because the job is as extreme as it gets for an intersection - digging up everything underneath and replacing it all.

City engineer Britt Vance helped put the plan together and he's heard complaints about how long it's taking.

“They're hard projects to build but they're necessary and we try to get them done as fast as we can,” Vance said.

The city plan is to rebuild the intersection - and 300 feet of road in all directions - without blocking traffic entirely, just pushing it down to two lanes instead of four.

That has traffic backed up at busy times - and slow almost all the time.

Besides the project at 31st and Harvard, the city has similar jobs underway at 21st and Utica and 61st and Memorial.

All involve the complication of replacing all underground utilities - whether that's water - sewer - cable or electrical.

Each one has to be done in order, from bottom to top.

“And if you try to do both at the same time, you have two contractors constantly in the other guys way...” Vance said. “I know people don't realize that, but it works a lot smoother if we work from the bottom up, do the utilities first, do the paving last.

The crews on Harvard are close to repaving one section, but they are about to dig into another, working around traffic while drivers work around them.

The traffic tie up will remain constant until the whole thing is done in November. The cost now about $2.1 million.

When it's done - the city will start at 41st and Harvard - just down the street.