Woodward, Okla. —
After several years of planning and waiting, Woodward's downtown revitalization project known as Streetscape will finally get under way this Monday, Jan. 7
Main Street Program Director Janet Fitz couldn't be more excited to see the almost $1.5 million project get started.
"It's going to give the whole street a new look," Fitz said. "We'll have new lights, new sidewalks, new benches and trash receptacles. It's going to be a real transformation."
The project was designed by architect Barrett L. Williamson and in October, city commissioners approved a $1,485,063.48 contract with CGC, LLC for construction of the project.
Activity on Friday signaled the approaching start of the project as a CGC surveyor was seen taking measurements along Main Street. Signs have also been placed along Main Street and side streets notifying drivers of the road work ahead.
Fitz discussed how construction is planned to progress over the next few months.
"Construction will take place one block at a time starting on the north side of the 7th Street block," she said. "They'll do that area first and when they're about 75 percent done they'll go to north side of the 800 block and continue like that until they reach the 1100 block. At that time they'll go back and start over on the south side of 7th Street and work their way back. We're expecting the whole thing to take about 180 working days total."
Fitz also delved in to more specifics of the project, saying, "They'll be taking the sidewalks out and replacing them, replacing the lights on every block, the traffic lights at 8th and 10th streets will be gone, and they'll replace the traffic lights at 9th and Main with new ones."
Despite this extensive construction, Fitz said the Streetscape project will not hinder accessibility to Main Street businesses.
"During construction patrons will still be able to get in through the front door or at least the back doors. On the businesses without back doors, the contractor will fix it so people can still get in," she said.
Fitz said traffic congestion and parking scarcity won't be a problem either.
"Traffic will continue to flow down Main Street. There will be parking in the city parking lots on the side streets and we've also got an area behind Maxines at the north side of 8th Street that the city has just asphalted, so people will be able to use that whole big parking area. Also my understanding is that there will still be some parking available on main street, so I do not expect construction to interfere with traffic," she said.
Fitz said the project is expected to take about 6 months, so Main Street visitors should expect the project's completion by June or July, weather permitting.
In addition to improving Main Street's aesthetics, Fitz said the renovations will also improve accessibility as well as safety. She said it will do so by taking excessively high curbs and either lowering them or turning them into 2-step curbs, by placing handicap ramps and hand rails on street corners, and by leveling off and replacing portions of the sidewalk that are crumbling or uneven.
"This will really enhance downtown accessibility a lot," she said.
Business and building owners will be meeting with the CGC contractors and the engineers next Thursday during a meeting at the Pioneer Room in which owners will be further walked through what to expect over the coming months as the project progresses.