Issues with sidewalk, other delays push completion date to Dec. 31
MOUNT VERNON, Nov. 22, 2021 – Most of the City of Mount Vernon’s reconstruction project on South Catherine and Oak streets is expected to be finished by Thanksgiving. The north section of South Catherine Street and the west section of Oak Street are presently scheduled to be open to traffic on Thursday. However, an issue has arisen with the south section of South Catherine Street that will delay its opening until the end of the year.
According to City Engineer Brian Ball, a contractor on the project installed the curb and gutter on South Catherine Street about six inches too low, rendering side access points unusable. Some driveway entrances, for instance, are at a 45-degree angle.
Ball noted that it’s unclear whether the project design or contractor are at fault. The designer will have its survey team on the site Tuesday, Nov. 23, followed by a meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 24, including the City, project contractor and design team. The newly installed curb and gutter on South Catherine Street will have to be removed and then rebuilt at the correct grade.
“This section of street will remain closed until the re-work can be completed,” said Ball. “The designer, contractor and City are committed to making the street correct for the residents and user public. At this point, the plan is to have the street completed by Dec. 31, 2021.”
The original completion date for the project was this past August, but the contractor encountered a number of issues that have pushed that date back. For instance, the soil conditions underneath the streets were worse than expected, requiring extra time to stabilize, Ball said.
In addition, the contractor has required more time to remove, clean and reinstall the bricks than was originally anticipated. The bricks date from the 1900s and 1920s. Finally, additional infrastructure work was necessary on nearby Potwin Street, although that work has since been finished, followed by paving.
Ball added that an emergency project to rebuild East Chestnut Street between North Gay and North Main streets, stemming from a lightning strike in August, has recently stretched his staff thin. East Chestnut was fully reopened on Monday, Nov. 22. The City’s Engineering Department is currently overseeing 18 projects around Mount Vernon.