Local commuters who are growing impatient with the road construction on the Manchester Downtown Square won’t have much longer before the renovation headaches go away.
The downtown project is scheduled to be complete around the middle of June, approximately three months from now, according to Terry Dendy with the City of Manchester.
“The completion date is supposed to be June 8 but they are saying give or take a week,” explained Dendy.
The project, which is mostly funded through state grants, began in August and, once complete, is expected to significantly change the curbside appeal of the downtown area without touching the faces of the buildings.
“We aren’t doing anything to the buildings because that wasn’t part of the
grants,” said Dendy. “But the sidewalks will be done, new street lightings, nice landscaping islands with irrigation.”
The most visible progress is along N. Irwin Street where new sidewalks are now accepting foot traffic.
“It is a good showing on Irwin Street of what the rest of it will look like,” stated Dendy.
The project, which began in August of 2013, calls for four electric-car-charging stations, stamped pavement designs in all four intersections, wider sidewalks, buried utilities, landscaping islands with irrigation, decorative lighting, underground power boxes to enhance electric availability for special events, benches and other small adjustments around the outer part of the square and around the courthouse portion.
The biggest chunk of the funding for the project – $698,350 – comes from two state grants including Little Duck River Greenway extensions combined with surface transportation program funds. One phase, which totals about $352,040, requires a 20 percent local match, which is being put up by the Manchester Tourism Committee. Other money is part of Manchester’s yearly allotment from TDOT for road projects.
“They think the rest of the project from here will go pretty fast,” said Manchester Mayor Lonnie Norman.
Dendy said some unforeseen infrastructure issues slowed the project early.
“A lot of infrastructure that was unforeseen caused it to take them a little longer to dig up some old water lines and sewer lines and different things of that nature,” Dendy said. “But I think they have run into all those unforeseen circumstances that they will see going forward. It is pretty much on time.”
The grants for the project were approved approximately four years ago.