Downtown Construction – What’s Going On?

Bowling Green residents and those traveling through the city the last couple of years have been witness to a lot of construction within the downtown area.  The upcoming paving project could have been the sole project downtown and it would have addressed the issues with the deteriorated concrete base and asphalt – what we see and drive on.  It would have also been a lot shorter duration and much less of a disruption to the community.  However, only replacing the surface would not address the aging underground infrastructure that lies below – thus delaying inevitable repairs or worse, creating safety issues such as sink holes.

The downtown construction started in the Summer of 2018 when Columbia gas replaced their gas lines with smaller and more efficient pipes.  The City’s portion of the downtown construction was anticipated to last from January through October 2019 (January-June for underground utilities and July-October for paving).  The first phase of the City’s work was the replacement of the water and sewer lines, which began in February 2019.  This work requires a wider trench and deeper excavation, which means larger equipment and more road closures.  The road closures also allow the contractor to complete the work more quickly and efficiently.  Not to mention, it is safer for the traveling public.  During this project, the contractor has been digging in some areas that have not seen the light of day in nearly 100 years or perhaps more in some instances.  They have encountered old steam lines, gas lines, water lines, and even buried railroad ties when a train used to travel down Main St – some of these obstructions were known and some were not known.  The downtown area is easily the most difficult portion of the City for a construction project due to its age and all of the abandoned and active underground utilities.  As the utility contractor finishes their portion of the project and depending on the timing of paving, a hot mix asphalt will be installed creating a smoother driving surface than what has been used to temporarily patch the various holes and trenches.  This portion of the project is expected to be completed in July 2019.

The long-awaited paving project is scheduled to begin next week.  The paving contractor will begin on Main St. and shift both directions of traffic into the northbound lanes – one direction of travel in each lane.  Traffic cones and signs will be installed to transition traffic into the temporary traffic pattern.  Once the traffic is shifted, the southbound lanes will be milled removing the temporary patch work that has been in place recently.  The contractor will call in OUPS to mark the various underground utilities – which will take at least 2 days.  Once the utilities have been marked, the contractor will conduct base repairs that will include excavation of the old concrete, pinning the edges with rebar, and installing the new concrete base.  When the base repairs in the southbound lanes are complete, an intermediate course of asphalt will be applied and the contractor will repeat this process on the northbound lanes.  This process will be repeated throughout the entire project area – Main Street from Oak to Ordway and Wooster from Prospect to Grove.  The contractor will then begin the various concrete repairs along the sidewalks and ADA ramps.  The final surface course of asphalt will then be placed and bricks will be installed in the intersection of Main and Wooster which will result in at least a 2 week closure of the intersection.

Weather and unforeseen conditions may extend the anticipated completion date (October). The downtown travel has been difficult and traffic patterns have been constantly changing, so continued patience is appreciated and has not been taken for granted.

Questions about this may be directed to the Engineering Division at 419-354-6227.