DULUTH – A few new holes in a street that is supposed to be all new by the end of the month is a pretty good indication that work on Superior Street won’t be wrapping up on time.
“It was already a tight schedule,” said city engineer Duncan Schwensohn, who spoke to a crowd of area business owners Tuesday for a weekly update on the project. “It hasn’t been for lack of trying.”
Rain delays and unexpected obstacles among the 100-year-old pipes being replaced means the main commercial corridor through downtown Duluth will reopen sometime in November.
Among the finds frustrating construction crews: fuel tanks well below the surface.
“We found all kinds of stuff,” said Lance Lindahl with Northland Constructors. “Once you find them you can’t just ignore them.”
Some of that work was put off to accommodate the Catalyst television and film festival that brought more than 1,100 people to the construction zone between Wednesday and Sunday.
Schwensohn and Lindahl assured folks at the meeting that the street will be ready for the annual Christmas City of the North Parade Nov. 22.
On Oct. 26 there will be a Rock the Block event with music and food that was originally meant to celebrate the end of construction — it still will, just a bit prematurely. That takes place on the 100 block of E. Superior Street.
In the meantime, businesses remain open and detours remain in place.
“It’s been a slog for everybody,” Schwensohn said.