By Ryan Cornell
STRASBURG -- Town officials, business owners and representatives from Lantz Construction Co. of Winchester met Wednesday to discuss plans for Strasburg's downtown streetscape enhancement project.
The project's first phase would replace the sidewalks, curbs and gutters along King Street from Holliday Street to Capon Street, and add brick crosswalks, trees and street lamps along the same stretch of road. Director of Public Works Mark Gundersen said construction is anticipated to start near the end of this month and finish in mid-July.
He said construction will move on a "block-by-block" basis, beginning at the intersection of King and Holliday Street until the end of February and progressing to spans of Holliday to Fort Street, Fort to Sharpe Street and Sharpe to Capon Street.
He said crews from Lantz Construction will be switching from the north- and southbound sides of King Street and said most of the work will take up the parking spaces in the shoulders. He said traffic shouldn't be affected until crews work on paving the road later in the spring.
"We're not going to be doing a full, both sides at once," he said. "We're going to do one section at a time with that. That's why it's taking about a month to do each section that is mentioned."
Construction crews will work 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. William Bowmaster, Lantz Construction general manager, said the crews will work daylight hours. He added that business owners will lose access to their storefronts during the day that crews are pouring concrete into the sidewalk.
"It takes about 24 hours, you would be down," he said. "It would probably be the longest period of time that your storefront would be unavailable."
Although businesses along King Street would also lose access of their storefront parking during construction, Gundersen said parking spaces would open after 4:30 p.m.
He said construction will stop from May 14 to 20, when equipment will be cleared for Mayfest vendors.
Concerns were raised at the meeting about flooding near the library and post office. Town Manager Judson Rex said the project wouldn't add an underground storm drain, but would fix some surface drainage problems so the water keeps flowing instead of forming puddles.
He said the contract with Lantz provides for completion of the project within 160 days and said the number can be extended for unforeseen conditions such as weather delays.
The town is funding 20 percent of the $1.5 million project. The other 80 percent is funded by the federal government through the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Rex said two other phases, stretching from Holliday to Massanutten Street and from Massanutten to the railroad tracks, would be considered after the completion of the first four blocks.
"The design is finished," he said. "So we're just waiting on money for the construction part of it, which we applied to for phase three but haven't heard back yet."
Downtown Manager Jennifer Keck said she's pleased about the plans.
"The trees, the flowerbeds, the landscaping, I think there's going to be some good things coming out of this and businesses will want to be down here," she said.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org