The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Water Street construction expected to begin in May

When students return to school in September, they may find it easier to navigate an often-used stretch of road near campus.

The Eau Claire City Council gave final approval Tuesday for a project to improve the road and sidewalks on Water Street on the stretch between Second and Sixth avenues.

Water Street construction
When: May 19 through Sept. 2
Cost: $1.9 million (estimated)
Where: Water Street, between Second and Sixth avenues

The project is scheduled to begin May 19, two days after UW-Eau Claire’s spring commencement, and is expected to be completed in time for the beginning of fall semester on Sept. 2, according to the City Hall Web site.

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The estimated cost of the project is $1.9 million, according to city of Eau Claire.

“I’m really glad it’s happening. It really needs it,” said junior Adam Terzich, who lives on the 700 block of Water Street. “When I’m driving my car on it, it’s really bumpy. It feels like it’s bad for the car.”

The summer-long project will give the city an opportunity to replace the underground utilities on Water Street, which are over 100 years old. The concrete pavement, which is 69 years old, also will be replaced.

When the project is completed, Water Street will have three lanes of traffic, with one running each direction and a two-way turn lane in the middle.

The street will be rebuilt with a width of 52 feet from curb to curb, with the sidewalks rebuilt to 13 feet wide on each side.

Part of the contract states that the contractor can only demolish and rebuild stretches of sidewalk that can be rebuilt in one day.

One Water Street business that will be affected significantly by the construction is Kerm’s grocery store, 329 Water St. As the construction moves down the street, access to the Kerm’s driveway and parking lot will shift, so there always will be access to the store.

During construction, Water Street traffic will be detoured one block north to Chippewa Street from First to Seventh avenues.

The detour is something people are going to have to deal with while the project is going on, Terzich said.

“There may be some problems, but it has to get done,” he said. “People know they can go up to Niagara or Broadway to get around it, too.”

Another part of the construction plan calls for the replacement of the decorative lights that run along the side of the street. New lights will be installed that shine more light on the street.

The project also will make an effort to save existing trees on Water Street. The small tree grates will be replaced, and any trees that have to be removed will be replaced.

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Water Street construction expected to begin in May