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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Frontage road construction begins

Published September 26th, 2013

As of Sept. 11, UW-River Falls’ students were made  aware of the construction on the frontage road from Crabtree Hall to the entrance of O-Lot.

UWRF Parking informed students via email of the project. It covered certain details, but there are still many intricacies to the project.

Construction on the frontage road from Crabtree Hall to the entrance of O-Lot began this week.

Construction on the frontage road from Crabtree Hall to the entrance of O-Lot began this week. (Desi Danforth/Student Voice)

For instance, there has been a delay in the beginning of this project. The previously determined start date of Sept. 16, was postponed until between Sept. 25, and 26.

“The whole construction industry is behind the gun,” said Grounds Maintenance Supervisor Joe McIntosh.

With the entire industry having trouble getting caught up with prior projects due to the wet weather this area has had since May, contractors have been forced to postpone many jobs.

The construction is estimated to take approximately three weeks to complete due to the extent of the necessary repairs to the road. The frontage road itself was originally built in 1968, and has only received minor chip and seal repairs until this plan was requested.

“This 45-year-old road was due for repairs, and our staff didn’t want to go through another winter with the original road,” McIntosh said.

All concrete, asphalt and the majority of the base of the road from the entrance of Cascade Avenue near Crabtree Hall to O-Lot will be removed and replaced.

In addition, the general contractor assigned to this project, Pember Company out of Menominee, Wis., will be adding a parking pull-out on the east side of Crabtree Hall. The addition will increase the amount of available space for 20-minute parking.

Pember Company will also attempt to lessen the rise of the entrance to O-Lot which has been an issue for many cars entering and exiting the parking lot.

Grimm, McMillan and Parker Hall will still be accessible through the frontage road. Access to South Forks Suites, Ames Suites, Crabtree Hall and the CHILD Care Center will be restricted to entrance and exit via 6th Street.

The question on many students’ minds is why the construction is taking place this fall rather than this past summer. According to McIntosh, the project request for this construction process was turned in to the Division of Facilities Development (DFD) in November. DFD is a small funds project within the UW System that allocates funds to Facilities projects. Under normal circumstances the project would have advanced to other stages of approval, however funds from the DFD had been depleted. The request was then promptly denied.

The request remained denied until April of this year when funds became available for the project. Once the request had been approved, there were lengthy procedures and other approval processes that had to take place such as engineering design approval and contract bidding.

According to McIntosh, the project itself was a “typical paperwork process” at that point. Once the entire process was finished, the first estimated date for the construction to begin was set at the same time students would be moving into the residence halls. This would have been a large inconvenience to both construction employees and students alike, and the decision was then made to postpone the project until its current starting date.

While the process will be lengthy and frustrating for some, there are still many students who believe that the construction will be worth the end result.

“The construction is good because the road is very rough and a lot of cars bottom-out on it,” said Kelsey Gwidt, a sophomore and elementary education major, who spends much of her time on this span of road going to and from her off-campus job. “Although the timing is not the best, it definitely needs to be done.”

For more information contact Facilities at 715-425-3827.

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