Merchants get a break; Main Street closure delayed

Starting Monday, 3-block stretch will be closed for six months during construction of Downtown Uplift project

Main Street merchants got a reprieve this week when Grand Junction city officials pushed back the expected closure of the street between First and Fourth streets.

That will come to an end early Monday morning, when the street will shut down for six months so the Downtown Development Authority can begin the so-called Downtown Uplift.

The street was supposed to close to motorized traffic last Monday, but the DDA decided to wait because crews were doing electrical work in the alley north of the 300 block of Main, and the group didn’t want to cut off delivery-truck access to businesses in the area, DDA marketing director Kathy Dirks said.

Main Street is now scheduled to close around 5:30 or 6 a.m. Monday from just east of First Street to just west of Fourth Street, so FCI Constructors can begin milling asphalt.

Dirks said the interim week allowed FCI to begin staging its equipment and set up fencing.

The project, which will include a second phase that will cover Fourth to Seventh streets and be done in the first six months of 2011, is intended to spruce up one of the Grand Valley’s biggest tourist attractions. Crews will replace trees, sidewalk, storm drain, waterline and lighting and add some other amenities.

The first phase of construction will cost $2.15 million. The DDA is paying for most of the project.

Dirks said crews will leave 5 feet of sidewalk in front of storefronts and add another 5 feet of temporary, walkable surface next to the sidewalk so people can still walk down Main Street. They also will install temporary lighting.

She emphasized that businesses will remain open during construction.

“The message I’m getting from merchants is to please let people know that we’re open for business,” she said.

Dirks said at some point in the future Fourth Street will be narrowed to one lane for construction, then shut down altogether for about a three-week period.

Construction on the first phase should be completed in June.


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