Jerry Murphy knows it’s going to be a rough ride when the city tears up the sidewalk and street in front of Murphy’s Bar and Grill later this year.
He just hopes it will be worth it.
“I can plan a vacation when you guys are doing this,” Murphy said.
Engineers from MMS Consultants met with a group of about 20 people Jan. 17 to outline plans for the Pioneer Street project.
Like the Second and Washburn project last year, the Pioneer Street project involves work on either side of Highway 22 to replace storm and sanitary sewer lines, water mains and repave the streets. The elevated sidewalks on the north side of Highway 22 will be replaced with an upscale sidewalk, railing and streetlights.
The alley next to Murphy’s is going to be closed. Trucks that use that alley now for deliveries will need to turn around in the alley behind the bar.
The turning radius will expand with the city’s purchase of a house and property on Second Street that will allow for a wider alley in the back.
“It’s going to impact us, there’s no doubt about that,” Murphy said. “I just think it’s going to take a little cooperation. We’ll just have to go with the flow.”
Murphy had kind words for MMS engineer Scott Pottorff who is heading the project as the Riverside city engineer. Pottorff explained the project at the meeting last week. Murphy said Pottorff has met with him several times to talk about concerns.
“It’s going to be an inconvenience for all of you,” Pottorff said. “We know that going in.”
The project is scheduled to start later this year. The work is being planned for Highway 22 to be open during Trekfest in June.
While the work is being done, Highway 22 at times will be reduced to a single lane. Flaggers will direct traffic during the day, and at night, temporary signals that alternate which lanes of traffic can pass on the single lane road.
Murphy said he hopes the work will result in a better looking downtown that will attract more businesses.
“It’s going to look like a small town, appearance-wise,” he said. “Appearance is everything for a small town.”