Houston St. dig begins
By Albert Amateau
Much actual digging might not be noticeable yet, but the reconstruction of Houston St. began Aug. 1 with the contractor, Tully Construction, marking out the project on the street surface between Bowery and West. St.
The project, to begin with the deepest work, the replacement of sewer lines and water mains, followed by surface reconstruction, is expected to take 29 months with completion expected in January 2008.
At $29.4 million, this is about as big as these jobs get in the city, said John Spavins, spokesperson for the city Department of Design and Construction.
Residents and merchants along the route that separates the Village and Noho from Soho, the South Village and Nolita are bracing for the noise dust and disruption of traffic. And Community Board 2 members, who found fault with many of the surface features that they reviewed more that two years ago, are still dissatisfied with the final plan.
While a few of the disputed features were changed, most remain in the plan.
We still hope to be able to get some more changes in the final phase of the reconstruction, because Houston St. affects the way traffic moves through our neighborhoods, said Brad Hoylman, a member of the Community Board 2 Traffic and Transportation Committee.
The board is working with the TriState Transportation Campaign, a nonprofit advocacy group, to assess truck traffic on Houston St., Hoylman noted.
On the plus side, the Houston St. final design reflects community objections that median tips were to be eliminated from crosswalks at Elizabeth, Mott, Mulberry, Lafayette, Broadway, Mercer, Greene, Wooster, W. Broadway, Thompson, Sullivan and MacDougal Sts. All those median tips will extend into the crosswalks when Houston St. is rebuilt, Spavins said.
But proposed left-turn bays from westbound Houston St. onto Mercer, Broadway and W. Broadway are still in the final plan, as is a left-turn bay from eastbound Houston onto northbound Lafayette St.
However, the medians at the left-turn bays will be 7.5-feet wide to accommodate pedestrians.
The proposed 5-foot-wide median at the Houston/Crosby intersection, which residents fear would act as a barrier between Soho and Noho, is still in the plan. The medians will all be about 2-feet high.
The widening of the sidewalk on the south side of Houston St., a feature that some supported and others opposed, remains in the plan. Between W. Broadway and Sixth Ave., the sidewalk will be widened from 9 to 22 feet. Between Sixth Ave. and Varick St., the sidewalk on the south side of Houston will be widened from 15 1/2 feet to 20 feet.