Main Street Project enters second week


Public meeting times changed to 10 a.m.

Despite some unseasonably cold days, work on the Lovell Streets Main Street reconstruction and water and sewer project moved into its second week Monday with work progressing on each end of Main.

The combined Wyoming Dept. of Transportation/Town of Lovell project began April 21 with traffic control and advanced during the week as construction crews started removing median strips and cutting concrete.

The initial emphasis, town and state officials said, is on the west end of Main, where an irrigation drain that crosses Main Street must be replaced before irrigation season. The contract calls for the drain to be finished by May 10 and work was well under way on laying new concrete culvert by Tuesday of this week.

Initially, traffic has been diverted to the south lane of Main Street at Hampshire Ave. and moving around the sugar factory S curve, but traffic will move to the north lane as work progresses, probably by Friday or Monday, general contractor Reiman Corp. project supt. Lloyd Wulf said at Tuesday’s weekly public work meeting at the Lovell Fire Hall.

Lovell Town Councilman Brian Dickson said once the new drain is completed, as well as a water line hookup at Great Western Ave., concrete will be poured in the south lane and later on the north lane when the south lane cures.

On the east end, saw-cutting has been performed in preparation for removing concrete slabs as part of the water and sewer project in the area of Pennsylvania Ave. Slabs should be removed next week, WyDOT Public Affairs Specialist Cody Beers said Tuesday.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Shane Pitt of Montana-Dakota Utilities spoke with the assembled contractors and engineers about MDU’s ongoing gas line replacement project and how the company can coordinate with the street project’s traffic control measures. Dickson explained that MDU is in the process of abandoning a gas main that runs down Main Street and is installing lines down alleys on the north and south sides of Main.

MDU will locate the gas main, dig it up and cap it, Dickson said, with alley work already being performed for several weeks. Pitt said the Main Street work is scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Town of Lovell Parks Director Gary Emmett asked about how Lovell’s concrete flower planters on Main Street corners will be handled during the project. He said the planters are already in place and difficult to move.

WyDOT’s response was that the planters can stay when they won’t be in the way, but some might need to be moved if a service line needs to be installed.

Emmett also asked about water for the town’s rose gardens at each end of Main, noting that the town isn’t ready to turn on the water yet but will need to later.

“We’ll temp it for you if we need to,” DOWL HKM engineer Andrew Mattie said. “One way or another you’ll have water.”

Another issue that arose at Tuesday’s meeting is the possibility of widening driving lanes in the S curve at the sugar factory. Beers explained that the traffic lanes aren’t wide enough for traffic to run side-by-side when the vehicles attempting to negotiate the curve are large trucks.

“We’re looking at ways to rectify the situation,” he said. “It never came up in planning. We’re checking into it. We’ll try to do it within the right-of-way.”

Emmett noted that if the lane widening cuts into the rose garden triangle just a bit, that would be OK. He said the sprinkler system is old and needs to be replaced anyway.

Nothing has been decided yet, Beers and Dickson said.

Citizen Jerry Warman said at Tuesday’s meeting that he thought the project startup went well after a bit of initial confusion among drivers.

Meeting times changed

It was decided Tuesday that future public work meetings will begin at 10 a.m. every Tuesday at the fire hall, and, in fact, this week’s meeting was moved up an hour from the planned 11 a.m. time, though not all parties were notified.

Beers urged the contractors and engineers to be as open with the public as possible and suggested a summary of the project at the beginning of each meeting, as well as a question-and-answer period that would allow members of the public to learn about the project progress and then move on if they choose as the discussion gets into the details of the week’s work.

By David Peck