Superior street reconstruction takes first step

By KBJR News 1

October 22, 2013 Updated Oct 22, 2013 at 9:20 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --Deteriorating bricks and a century old utility system are driving city leaders to give Superior Street a major over haul.

"You recognize that superior street is a prime corridor for Duluth. It's really vital to the city's economic development and growth," said LHB Project Manager, Brad Scott.

Officials took the first steps Tuesday in the planning phase to reconstruct the main drag between 6th Ave West and 4th Ave. East with a public meeting.

"It's really a project that is being driven by the condition of the street. From a utility point of view, anytime there is a potential street project we immediately look at the condition of the utilities," said City Utilities Chief Engineer, Eric Shaffer.

Conditions like a major water main burst that sent thousands of gallons of water gush into the street on New Year's Eve.

"Both the sanitary sewer and the water main were built in the 1880s it only makes a lot of sense if we are going to build an entirely new street over the top of it, we would replace the water and the sewer main at that time," said Shaffer.

Meanwhile, some business owners are concerned about what will happen to their customers once construction starts.

"I know it's a project I know that needs to be done, it's essential, its time, its past time, but loss of business is my biggest concern as any small business man would have that same concern that's in the downtown area," said Garry Hovdek, owner of Jitters Coffee House.

However, officials say this is an investment that needs to be made.

"It's important to keep the investment in Superior Street for the good of Duluth so I think there is no question the project has pretty high value." said Scott.

The preliminary design will be completed by November 2014.

The final design of the project will be conducted in 2015 with construction anticipated to start in 2016.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.