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Cascade project expected to finish early

May 4, 2012

Cascade construction
Workers install perforated pipe for storm water runoff as part of the Cascade Avenue reconstruction project. (Photo courtesy of City of River Falls)

The Cascade project is ahead of schedule and is expected to be complete by the middle of September, according to UW-River Falls and city officials.

The hope is for the street to be complete by mid-September officials said. The weather is permitting construction to remain on task and even ahead of schedule.

“Optimism can get to the best of me,” said Michael Stifter, director of facilities management.

City officials and UWRF officials are anticipating the project be complete and usable by the beginning of the fall 2012 semester.

The project is consisting of three round-abouts built in the place of intersections along Cascade Avenue. The construction began April 9 and has not even been in the works for a month.

The road has been torn up, holes dug and pipes taken out and put back. The water has been turned off and an occasional rumble has been heard here and there, but the University, students and city residents have been very cooperative.

“The amount of cooperative and patience from campus is tremendous,” Stifter said.

Right now, there will be utility work done Friday of this week and next week. Then there will be a rebuild and construction started after the utility work is complete.

The third week in May will begin construction for the street itself. This week the construction workers are prepping and pouring the curb for the new road.

The reason this project is so far ahead of schedule then anticipated is because of the construction company. The construction company hired was the lowest price but with the most workers. The more workers have allowed this project to shave four to six weeks off of the expected end date.

“When spending the public’s money, we wanted to get the work done and efficiently as possible,” said Reid Wronski, director of public works and city engineer of River Falls.

The city choose the lowest bid from a number of contracting companies. The number of crew members was not expected but there are no complaints from the city or the campus for getting the road done faster.

“There are all sort of factors that you can’t look in the rearview mirror and say ‘why didn’t you start this early,’” Wronski said.

The fortunate early spring allowed for construction to begin much earlier. If this did not happen, the construction would have dragged on until the beginning of winter and the rest of the project would have been complete by next spring. The construction workers have been very courteous to campus pedestrians that are crossing the construction site.

“One time I wasn’t paying attention and a worker told me to wait,” said Sara Przeslawski, a senior and communicative disorders major. “They are watching out for us.”

With the new anticipated end date in view, the city and University are not thinking about education of correct driving procedures of a round-about. If there are any problems that arise, Wronski said that the city would work together to come up with a solution. Wronski also said that there is plenty of information available for people to look at to learn about round-abouts.

“I hate round-abouts,” Przeslawski said. “They cause more confusion and people don’t know how to use them so how do you think college students will; they won’t know how to.”

There is a round-about on Division Street and the public has had no difficulties except for one person, according to Wronski. There is information on the city website and cable access TV if there are any questions students or residents have.

“We are focusing on communicating with the public; open communication seems to be working thus far,” Wronski said.