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Summer construction on Main Street?


By Brian Howell –

Inclement weather and recent project changes have pushed Main Street construction into the summer, but it should be completed before the 2013 North Carolina Apple Festival, according to Hendersonville City Engineer Brent Detwiler.

The Main Street Infrastructure Improvements project was originally scheduled for completion on May 16th of this year. The project began three years ago, and was intended to address a number of problems on Main Street in Hendersonville. Major concerns began with the sprawling root systems of trees from the 100 through the 600 block, causing the breakup of sidewalks and other hazards for pedestrians. Replacing aging crosswalks on Main Street was also a primary goal for the project.

Detwiler noted that the main reasons for missing the original completion date are recent additions to the project. Changes included the construction material for all 33 crosswalks on those blocks, and a decision to continue the entire project through the block from 7th Avenue to Main Street’s reconvergence with U.S. Highway 25.

Crosswalks on Main Street were originally going to be marked with a ruddy thermoplastic paint. Instead, Hendersonville City Council amended the plans to construct crosswalks of brick pavement with “a concrete band on either side,” said Detwiler. Laying brick and setting concrete added 33 days to construction, pushing the completion date into the middle of June.

The extension of the project to U.S. Highway 25 added 30 days and reset completion to the middle of July. Then the rains came.

The National Climatic Data Center in Asheville reports that May of 2013 was the 13th wettest May in Western North Carolina since record keeping began in 1895. As well, North Carolina as a whole just experienced the second wettest June in the same 118 years, according to preliminary data from the State Climate Office of North Carolina. Detwiler estimates that the extraordinary precipitation in the area has amounted to additional delays of several weeks, although he says the contractor, Trace and Co., is actually slightly ahead of schedule as of July 9th, apart from rain delays.

If the weather cooperates, Detwiler hangs his hope on a fully functional, brand new Main Street sometime toward the middle of August, and certainly before the Apple Festival begins on August 30th. “Obviously, there’s no intention to be working ( into the Apple Festival),” assured Detwiler.

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