BUCKHANNON – There’s one roadblock to completing the construction of the Upshur County Development Authority’s new Innovation Center at the corner of Spring and Main streets.
And at this point in time, UCDA executive director Rob Hinton is talking about a literal road blockage.
At Thursday’s Buckhannon City Council meeting, Hinton asked for council’s approval to close a 120-foot section of Spring Street at its intersection with Main Street.
“We are proposing a very small section of street, and the workers are working 10s (10-hour days) Monday through Thursday,” Hinton explained. “Unless they have makeup days, it should be open Fridays and weekends.”
Although workers may be able to work in light snow, construction is halted in the event of torrential downpours or heavy snow, Hinton said.
The contractor, Danhill Construction Company, will be using the area to stage trucks transporting the steel that will support the three-story building, Hinton said.
“I know we’re inconveniencing the city, but when we get to the other side of this, I think this (the Innovation Center) will be a really nice investment for the city,” he added.
Although the 120-foot-long section of the road was originally scheduled to be closed Monday through Thursday beginning Nov. 18, Hinton said it didn’t make sense to start bringing the steel in prior to the Thanksgiving holiday because work would have to be interrupted.
Hinton asked council to close the road Nov. 26, 2018 through Jan. 4, 2019 – approximately a six-week period.
Friendly Way, the loop around the Buckhannon Post Office and the rest of Spring Street will remain open throughout the duration of the closure.
Councilman Robbie Skinner made a motion to approve the request, which was seconded by councilman David Thomas prior to passing unanimously.
Mayor David McCauley said the city will still be able to squeeze an ambulance or fire truck through the area in the event of an emergency. However, opening the section to one-way traffic isn’t a possibility due to liability and regulations outlined in the building and zoning code, fire chief J.B. Kimble said.
“We’ll still be able to get a fire truck or ambulance through the corridor,” the mayor said. “It’s going to be a fantastic building when it’s all said and done. It’s going to be a terrific thing.”
Hinton noted the project will likely be completed in May or early June.
“There will be no construction obstruction when the Strawberry Festival comes around,” he said.
On Monday, Hinton said there was no way around setting up a staging area near the project, given that 35-foot-long pieces of steel must be unloaded somewhere in the vicinity of the future Innovation Center.
“We tried to minimize the inconvenience as much as possible,” he said.