- North Putnam Street in Williamston is closed for water, sewer and drainage repair until at least September, affecting routes to school.
- The project was delayed because of high expenses the city couldn't afford due to contractor availability and cost and shortage of materials.
- Williamston Community Schools has set up alternate drop off opportunities for families including walking kids to elementary schools from nearby parking lots and an alternate bus location at the football field.
(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)
Back to school season is here, and construction Season is winding down. In Williamston, however, the two are colliding head on, and there's a big construction project in the area that may require families to leave a little early for Monday's first day of school.
“The bus routes will be somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes longer, and that's based on where the construction is at right now," said Williamston Community School Superintendent Dr. Adam Spina.
Phase one of construction on North Putnam Street in Williamston is now underway.
“The project is very impactful to the area because it does take out the intersection just north of the Red Cedar River Bridge," said City Engineer Scott DeVries. "If you take that intersection out, the only way around is to go to Zimmer Road which is several miles to the west of here.”
DeVries said they hopes to start the project over the summer, but due to contractor availability, cost of materials and shortage of materials, they had to delay starting the project until August.
“The bids came in $1.4 million over what the project plans were for $2.1 million," DeVries said. "The city just didn't have that much money sitting around. So we had to come up with an alternative solution for that.”
By delaying the project, this means the replacement of water, sewer and storm pipes on North Putnam will run into the start of the school year.
“That deep sewer has to go that whole way," DeVries said. "We have a water main and storm sewer, so it's pretty much the entire width of the road. So trying to travel up and down there is going to be nearly impossible.”
DeVries said there will be accommodations for the people who live along the street to ensure they can get in and out.
Spina said the school district has made some accommodations of their own for families affected by the construction.
“We have worked with both the city and one of our local service organizations that has a facility near our elementary campus to have two additional parking locations where parents can then walk their children to the school. It's within a very reasonable distance from the elementary campus," Spina said. "We also have a alternate bus location at our football field that families have taken advantage of or they can drop their children off, get on the bus and then they can cut out to work.”
DeVris said the roads should start reopening by mid-September.
“They're going to put some temporary pavement in there, which really should help things tremendously because the local neighborhoods adjacent to that area, we'd be able to get around the corner and get across the bridge again.”
While he agrees construction is a pain he said in the end, it will be worth it.
“Construction is painful for everybody we know, but have some patience and in the end it should be a great thing that should last for decades to come,” DeVries said.
Phase two of the project will begin some time in the spring, however, there's no set date yet.
The second phase will replace sidewalks, driveways and replace curbs and gutters in the area along North Putnam.
DeVries said for updates on the project, suggested detours and pedestrian paths, visit the city website.
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