By John Colson
Sopris Sun Staff Writer
The contractor in charge of Carbondale’s $493,000 renovation and rearranging of South Third Street went to work on Tuesday, following a one-day delay caused by late delivery of traffic control equipment, according to Public Works Director Kevin Schorzman.
The work is expected to continue into late May, Schorzman told The Sopris Sun, according to a schedule set by the contractor, Johnson Construction of Rifle.
The entire area (from Sopris Avenue to the alleyway between Main Street and Garfield Avenue) is going to be closed (to parking and traffic) until Memorial Day Schorzman reported, “unless they get it done sooner.”
The closure hours will begin at 7 a.m. and, unless changes are warranted, will finish at 5:30 p.m., Schorzman said. If needed due to delays of any kind, the work days may be extended to 7 p.m. on some days.
Throughout the project period, anyone experiencing difficulties over the project can call Schorzman at 510-1217 or Rob Bercher of Johnson Construction at 625-2251 though Schorzman said he would prefer that any citizens with complaints call his office instead of the contractor.
The project has three main objectives, Schorzman said.
The first is to install new sidewalks along the west side of the street to improve the footing for pedestrians, but not along the east side of the street.
At one point, the town was considering the installation of sidewalks on both sides of the street, but citizens balked in a series of public meetings held last year and the sidewalk work will be only on the west side of the street.
A second objective is to install “ribbon curbs,” – basically a ribbon of concrete flush with the ground meant to delineate the parking areas from the surrounding dirt and gravel, and to keep gravel from migrating onto the parking surface.
Schorzman referred to the ribbon curb as “kind of like glorified edging” used by gardeners to separate a garden from a lawn area.
He emphasized that there will be no long-term loss of parking spaces as a result of the work, although those living along the construction area will be prohibited from driving or parking on 3rd Street for the duration of the project.
A third objective, Schorzman continued, is the installation of ditch extensions or “laterals” connected to the existing ditch along the east side of 3rd Street, which carries water from the Crystal River that homeowners can use for irrigation.
The ditch laterals will move water to vaults on the west side of the street, so that homeowners on that side can get access to the irrigation water by dropping pumps into the vault — a longtime desire on the part of those homeowners.
Associated open conduits are to be placed beneath alleyways and sidewalks, through which ditch users can run power cords to the pumps and hoses from the pumps to their private property.
Schorzman said there are to be four such lateral-and-vault installations between Garfield and Euclid avenues, and another just north of Garfield Avenue.
In addition, the town is planning to remove some trees along the west side of the street.
Schorzman said there are perhaps a half-dozen small trees slated for removal between Garfield and Euclid avenues, but none south of Euclid.
The trees, Schorzman said, are Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn; Seedless Kentucky Coffee Tree; and Summer Charm Peking Lilac.
A landscaping plan calls for the planting of 11 new trees along the west side of the street, and a custom blend of grass seeds and other seed stock in the open areas where there is to be no parking.
Schorzman said there will be irrigation facilities installed along the right of way to water the new trees and other landscaping items being planted by the contractor.
Since cars — including mail-delivery vehicles — will not be allowed on South 3rd during the project, Schorzman said the town has erected a set of mailboxes at the northwest corner of Euclid and South 3rd (adjacent to the Carbondale Branch Library), where homeowners can go to pick up their mail while the project is underway.
In general, according to Schorzman, the contractor will not be digging down to and replacing the entire street’s road base. Instead, a wide swath of asphalt down the middle of the street will be undisturbed by the work, while excavators will be digging along the edges, mainly to install the ribbon-curbs, sidewalks and irrigation lines.
For regular updates on the project, residents can check the town’s website (www.carbondalegov.org) or the public works department’s Facebook page.