Just a few minor touch-ups are left in the second phase of the Superior Street reconstruction before the blocks between Lake Avenue and Fourth Avenue East reopen next Friday.
Crews began work on the section in April and have since replaced utility lines, removed a buried trolley track, installed new water and storm sewer mains and repaved most of the street.
The road and sidewalks between Third and Fourth Avenue East will have temporary asphalt until weather allows the section to be paved with concrete next spring, said Duncan Schwensohn, engineer with the city of Duluth and project manager for the reconstruction.
"We've just run out of time," Schwensohn said. "Doing cold weather concrete is not a real good idea. No matter what you do you're going to sacrifice quality; we decided we just aren't going to push it any more than we have this year."
Crews could experience further delays in replacing the temporary asphalt with concrete, he said, depending on the status of two other construction projects near the corner of Superior Street and Fourth Avenue East.
"You have a much better chance of it lasting a lot longer if you don't have heavy construction equipment driving on the roads," Schwensohn said, referring to construction underway for a new Essentia Health building and a slated housing development project at the site of what is now the Voyageur Lakewalk Inn.
A new hot-water system was also installed, as the city is utilizing the street's reconstruction to update the existing steam system with more energy-efficient water systems.
Not all affected buildings could switch over to the hot-water system, Schwensohn said, so a steam system was also replaced.
The newly installed hot-water system won't be turned on until 2020 after all phases of the Superior Street reconstruction are complete.
Throughout the project, crews with Northland Constructors experienced weather-related hurdles such as a record amount of rain and cold fall temperatures.
"They kind of worked through days a lot of other people probably went home for," Schwensohn said.
The third and final phase of the Superior Street reconstruction project will begin in the spring of 2020. The first phase was completed in the fall of 2018.
A public meeting on the third phase of the project will take place from 9-10:30 a.m. Nov. 19 at the Holiday Inn and Suites, 200 W. First St. City staff, Northland Constructors and Minnesota Department of Transportation will provide an overview of the project.