Lane constrictions, detours and road closures — it’s impossible not to notice the work that’s happening on Mingus Avenue.
For the last month, construction crews have made their way eastward in sections, working on a waterline installation project in advance of the second and third phases of Mingus Avenue’s improvement project.
The second phase, from the roundabout at Willard Street to the Eighth Street Wash, will begin as soon as October.
The third phase, from the Eighth Street wash to Main Street, is currently in the planning process and may begin in the spring of 2018.
The first phase, from State Route 89A to the roundabout at Willard Street, was undertaken in 2012 and completed in 2013.
City of Cottonwood Project Manager Martin Smith said that, once completed, the waterline will extend from Willard Street to Main Street. The final leg of construction will cross to the eastern side of Main Street, requiring traffic control and potential detours.
According to Smith, the waterline installation is “progressing nicely” and may be finished within the next few weeks.
“Most of the underground work, we’re doing now,” Smith said. “We’ve had to coordinate with many other utility companies to make sure everyone gets their infrastructure in [and] that’s gone really smoothly.”
The second phase of Mingus Avenue improvements is a reconstruction of curb, gutter, sidewalk and bike lanes. Estimated to cost $2.2 million, $845,000 of the funding for the project comes via a Highway Administration Surface Transportation Grant. The remainder is allocated as special revenue funds.
Submission of bids for the project were due Friday, Aug. 25, with approval of a contract dependent upon subsequent City Council approval. Smith said that the timeline for completion is unknown, contingent on a schedule submitted by the contractor.
In June, city of Cottonwood Development Services Manager Morgan Scott predicted that it would be “at least” nine months from beginning to end. According to Smith, the project is “fairly straightforward” from a construction standpoint but complicated by the number of private, city and Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District businesses and facilities.
“It is a central hub,” Smith said. “There will be delays, but we’re trying to keep those to an absolute minimum. There are businesses that survive off of this road [and] all businesses will remain open. We’re not closing anybody down. Everyone will have full access .... Everyone is really excited to see this done. It’s definitely on a road that needs it.”
The central issue impacting the condition of Mingus Avenue, Smith added, is a 51-year-long process of asphalt degradation called “alligatoring,” wherein cracks and buckles appear, mimicking crocodilian plate scales.
“Once it gets to that point, there’s really nothing you can do to preserve that road other than replace it.”