DULUTH – Superior Street reconstruction will enter a fourth year next summer as weather will prevent the $31.5 million project from finishing on time this fall.
Several sidewalks and stretches of street downtown will be temporarily covered with asphalt before the road reopens in mid-November. Road closures will continue as work is finished in 2021.
"It won't be blocked off completely, but we don't have all the details worked out," said project manager Duncan Schwensohn.
A similar approach was used last year when parts of East Superior Street could not be finished on time.
Work continued Tuesday as preparations were made to lay down asphalt over parts of the road and sidewalks that were covered by gravel. Schwensohn said the plan was to reopen the road by the third week in November.
The project includes major underground work replacing century-old water mains and has occasionally run into unexpected finds. It has also been the bane of many downtown businesses already struggling to bring in customers during the pandemic.
"We want you to understand we're doing the best we can with the weather we've been given this year," city spokeswoman Kate Van Daele told business owners on a call Tuesday morning.
"It's killing them, without pedestrian traffic," one caller said about Ragstock downtown.
This year's construction coincided with major work on the Lake Avenue bridge connecting downtown and Canal Park — which is also undergoing a rebuilding of the storm-battered Lakewalk.
On Interstate 35, lane closures have already begun for the Twin Ports Interchange aka "Can of Worms" project that will begin in earnest next spring and last three years.