A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Downtown Dig is taking longer

Written October 18th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

Construction work was going on Monday at the intersection of Second Avenue and Ellsworth Street.

As busy as the crews working on Albany’s $8 million downtown “streetscape” project have been, they’re not going to get it all done this year as city officials had originally hoped.

Since June, the construction company Emery & Sons has been digging up and rebuilding sidewalks and underground utilities in a project that covers about 26 blocks on seven streets. Mainly affected are the downtown segments of Second and Third Avenues and Ellsowrth and Lyon streets, plus single blocks on Broadalbin, Ferry and Calapooia streets.

I asked for an update on the project, which the city at first said — and still says on its website — should be done by December. But as project manager Lindsey Austin reminded me, officials told the Central Albany Revitalization Area board as early as June that the final repaving of the downtown streets would be pushed into spring and summer of 2018. Also in 2018, ODOT plans to put a pavement overlay on Ellsworth and Lyon.

Austin gave me a summary of the work so far: Sidewalks have been rebuilt on five of 11 blocks in the project area. This includes openings for tree wells and bases for light poles. Almost all of the stormwater infrastructure is completed. Electrical conduit has been installed almost everywhere, with only half of Lyon and Ellsworth left to do. Installation of curb ramps on Lyon and Ellsworth is under way. New water mains are complete on nine of the 13 blocks where they were scheduled.

Is the project more or less on schedule?

“It’s difficult at this point to provide a detailed update on the overall project schedule but we are in the process of looking at paving windows, completion dates, and hope to have another update go out this month,” Austin told me in an email. “I can share that tree planting is scheduled to start next month and will focus on planting trees in the new wells that have been completed on Second and Third Avenue. New light poles will also start to go up next month on Second and Third avenues. However, the power company won’t be able to provide power to ‘light’ the poles for a couple of months following their installation.”

As for everyone affected by all this, Austin says, “We really appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we move forward with the project.” (hh)

6 responses to “Downtown Dig is taking longer”

  1. GregB says:

    I have been thinking for a long time, as the projects on Crocker Lane and in downtown Albany progress so slowly, that just maybe the construction contract was not written properly. Not to put people on the defensive, but that is my opinion.

  2. John Hartman says:

    Time and space are relative, shifting and more fluid-like than anything else. Hence, it should come as no surprise that the “Downtown Dig is Taking Longer.”

  3. Chris says:

    The project on crocker is required to be done by november or else the contractor will be fined per day. I really don’t see them getting done before then. The whole project has been a mess.

  4. hj.anony1 says:

    omg! At my age, I hate to wish life away but it sure will be nice to have
    these roads done. Annoyed!!!!

    Then maybe, just maybe, we can work on the many other trouble spots
    in town. I’m talking about roads!

    hashtag MAGA!!!!

  5. James Engel says:

    As for the “big dig”, considering that the contractor didn’t have bare ground to begin with they’ve done rather well. They had to completely take apart the area then put new back in all the while keeping downtown humming. Let them work in peace & “don’t worry, be happy” as come spring all will be curbed, paved, planted & landscaped…..JE

  6. tom cordier says:

    So will all this mess be gone by the Vets Day parade??


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