Downtown merchants, developers hopeful delays are over with Project 180

Planning, incentives aimed at avoiding problems with previous downtown road construction.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: October 16, 2013 at 10:00 pm •  Published: October 15, 2013
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Such issues made access to Trattoria il Centro at 500 W Main virtually impossible when crews tore up Main Street and Walker Avenue around the building. Those street projects then met long delays in getting completed. The restaurant closed, with owners blaming its demise on the Project 180 delays.

“It was awful,” Paul said. “I couldn't get there by foot, much less park within a half mile of there.”

Paul, however, is feeling assured that better communication with city engineers and contractors, and more oversight on construction schedules, will prevent a repeat of the delays and restricted access that plagued businesses during the first phases of Project 180.

Project 180 spokeswoman Shannon Cox said the construction contracts are worded differently this time around. Contractors are no longer allowed to tear up one street, and then move on to another street if they hit delays on the first job.

Utility companies also caused delays on the first streets by not moving their lines in coordination with contractors opening up street access. This time around, Cox said, utility companies are being given strict deadlines for moving lines.

“We've met with all the utilities and given them a time frame and when they can get in there,” Cox said. “The contractors will leave the street open for the utilities. But if they don't meet their deadline, we will move forward. We won't wait on them … We will make the improvements for them and tell them it will be done to our standards.”

The city also will use concrete barriers to better protect pedestrian passages, compared to the previous use of flags or cones.

Paul, meanwhile, has arranged with SandRidge Energy to provide 30 parking spaces in its garage just to the west of the Braniff Building to Kitchen No. 324 at night and during weekends.

Until now, the restaurant has relied on 25 nearby curbside spaces — parking that will be lost during street reconstruction.

“The city has explained to us what their plan is for construction on Robison and Dean A. McGee,” Paul said. “They were very upfront, they talked about incentives, things they've learned in the past and how they've inconvenienced businesses. They've figured it out and they want to be proactive.”

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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What's Next?

May 2014: Opening of the Dean A. McGee/Robinson intersection to north-south traffic. Opening of the McGee/Robinson intersection to all vehicular and pedestrian travel.

Summer 2014: Opening of the Kerr/Robinson intersection to east-west traffic.

Fall 2014: Opening of Robinson between Dean A. McGee and Park, including the Kerr/Robinson intersection, to all vehicular and pedestrian travel.

Winter 2014: Opening of Kerr between Harvey and Robinson to all vehicular and pedestrian travel.

Spring 2015: Opening of the NW 4th/Robinson intersection to all vehicular and pedestrian travel.

Spring 2015: Opening of Kerr between Robinson and Broadway to all vehicular and pedestrian travel.

What's Next?

May 2014: Opening of the Dean A. McGee/Robinson intersection to north-south traffic. Opening of the McGee/Robinson intersection to all vehicular and pedestrian travel.

Summer 2014: Opening of the Kerr/Robinson intersection to east-west traffic.

Fall 2014: Opening of Robinson between Dean A. McGee and Park, including the Kerr/Robinson intersection, to all vehicular and pedestrian travel.

Winter 2014: Opening of Kerr between Harvey and Robinson to all vehicular and pedestrian travel.

Spring 2015: Opening of the NW 4th/Robinson intersection to all vehicular and pedestrian travel.

Spring 2015: Opening of Kerr between Robinson and Broadway to all vehicular and pedestrian travel.

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