Friday, September 29, 2006

River Street work nearly done

Project will link north and south sections of key thoroughfare

Express Staff Writer

Brothers Jake and Josh Engkraf, left, and Bronco Bravo, standing, of L&K Engkraf Construction in Bellevue, put the final touches on curb and gutter work on a section of River Street scheduled for opening the second week of October. Photo by David N. Seelig

Work to complete a highly anticipated final section of River Street in northern Hailey may be finished as early as the second week of October, Public Works Manager Ray Hyde said Thursday.

"That is our hope," Hyde said.

Once the work is complete, Hailey motorists will finally be able to drive the full length of River Street, an important north-south thoroughfare that runs parallel to Main Street.

Completing this last stretch of road on River Street is something Hailey city officials have long desired, Hyde said.

"To put River Street through has been something the mayor and council has wanted for some time," he said.

River Street is a key element of Hailey's overall transportation system, Hyde said. Having River Street completed earlier this summer would have allowed the city to reroute traffic from Main Street when construction was being done there, he noted.

There are many other instances where having River Street complete will come in handy, Hyde said. "It's going to give us the ability to reroute traffic off Main Street in an emergency," he said.

On Wednesday, concrete crews with L&K Engkraf Construction of Bellevue were completing curb and gutter work on the east side of the River Street section. Curb and gutter work on the west side of the road should be done sometime early next week, Hyde said.

Once that happens, crews with Valley Paving in Bellevue will begin laying asphalt, he said.

Barring any unforeseen holdups such as bad weather, the city will likely hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially announce the opening of River Street, Hyde said.

Altogether, the city is paying a total of about $40,000 to contractors L&K Engkraf Construction and Valley Paving for the roadwork, Hailey City Engineer Tom Hellen said. City crews completed some of the preparation work on the street, Hellen said.

The city received title to the River Street property through a complex series of negotiations with developers of the large 421-unit Sweetwater project in Hailey's Woodside neighborhood.

The Hailey City Council's Aug. 14 approval of the Sweetwater project set in motion several key land trades between the city and developers of the project.

In exchange for gaining ownership of several key parcels of land located within the project that were owned by the city, developers of Sweetwater purchased and then conveyed to the city the sought-after River Street property that blocked two sections of the street.

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