This week drivers have seen portions of Fisk Street barricaded for repairs to utilities; however, these repairs are not part of the Fisk Street construction project which will begin in the coming weeks, according to City of Brownwood officials.
City of Brownwood Assistant Division Director of Public Works/Director of Utilities David Harris reported that a water main break under the intersection at Austin Avenue and Fisk Street near Howard Payne University was the reason for these utility repairs. Harris explained that the breakage occurred in one of the few cast iron mains that remained in downtown.
“Instead of digging up the entire intersection, we are connecting the mains around the intersection to bypass the problem. It is very similar to a heart bypass surgery where the old vein stays in place but a new one bypasses around the problem,” said Harris in a recent email. “With us doing the ‘bypass,’ it will be much cheaper. The timing is good because the Fisk road work will cover up the ‘scars’ we are making in the current road surface.”
Although the reconstruction project of Fisk Street downtown was originally to begin in April, the project was delayed for a few months, according to City Manager Bobby Rountree.
The contractor awarded the project, Prater Equipment Company of Comanche, was completing the construction on Hwy 183 in Early as well as the new roads around the United Supermarket construction site - Market Street and Riverside Drive when the Fisk reconstruction project was approved, according to Rountree.
“We felt it best to let the contractor complete his other jobs so he could concentrate on Fisk,” said Rountree.
The City of Brownwood crews will begin concrete work next week, removing old ADA ramps and curbs. All of the water/sewer lines on Fisk Street were also replaced by city crews over the past two years in anticipation of the reconstruction project.
Rountree explained that excavation of the roadway will not occur until after the Brownwood Reunion Celebration (September 19-21, 2014) because of the 5K/10K race route and the number of people expected in the downtown area. Once started, the project is expected to last approximately 12 months.
In order to keep access open to downtown businesses throughout the construction period, Rountree stated that crews plan to only have a block or so closed at a time, with side streets remaining open. Crews may be working on several blocks at once but will close the street in these small portions as the work progresses, explained Rountree.
In March 2014, Prater Construction won the contract for the project with a bid of $1,269,388, which was just slightly above the engineer’s estimated project cost of $1,230,000. The bid includes excavating the roadbed, considerable curb work, striping of the roadway, constructing 87 ADA upgrade locations (requirements due to changes in federal law), and three traffic light upgrades to meet ADA standards.
The Fisk Street reconstruction project is approximately 4030 linear feet (4/5 of a mile) in length and 40 feet wide, running from Austin Avenue to Main Street through downtown Brownwood. The project will be paid for by funding from the 2012 Certificates of Obligation.
Above and below are views of Fisk Street as city crews worked on utilities Thursday.