The city is working to minimize the inconvenience to motorists during the closure of Denmark Road for bridge replacement and road improvement work.
The road is closed just east of St. Andrews and Denmark Road for bridge replacement and a mini roundabout at the intersection at the two roads.
“Our primary concern is the safety of the motorists,” City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said.
Zimmermann told aldermen Monday night that the original plan called for roadway “humps” to be removed to improve sight distance after the bridge was replaced, but would prefer if the two projects could be completed simultaneously.
“We were going to wait until after the bridge was complete, but if we do that, the roadway will be open to traffic and we would have a greater number of conflicts with motorists,” he said.
Zimmermann said he has been working with the contractor on a method to address the profile changes more quickly.
The primary negotiation with the contractor has been with the asphalt subbase, because it’s difficult to get asphalt in the quantity and at the time the city would need, he explained.
“I’ve been trying to negotiate a different concrete base to construct these,” he said, noting that each profile adjustment is about 300 feet in length and 28 feet wide.
Zimmermann requested changing the base to a 6-inch concrete pavement base with an asphalt overlay for an additional $9,200.
“This allows us to complete some of the more burdensome construction while the road is closed to through traffic,” Zimmermann said. “Hopefully that will minimize the inconvenience to motorists.”
The engineer added that another benefit is that the cross section will be stronger than what was specified in the contract.
Aldermen approved the request unanimously.
Though cold weather has slowed work on the bridge, Zimmermann said mostly dry weather has kept the project time line on track.
The bridge currently is sitting on piles. On each end is a “bent,” or abutment. One bent is complete and the other is halfway complete, with that work scheduled to be complete this week.
Next week, Zimmermann said he hopes crews can begin setting decking on the bridge.
The improvements were part of the 2014-17 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) approved by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments in 2015.
This is the second phase of the Denmark Road project.
The first phase was completed in 2014 and included new 12-foot-wide lanes and shoulders from Prairie Dell Road to just east of St. Andrews Drive. The lanes and shoulders now are a total of 28 feet wide.
There also were 5-foot-wide sidewalks installed along that stretch of the road.