What's going on here? River Street to close for reconstruction

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Frank Schultz
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What it is: One of the bumpiest streets in Janesville will be reconstructed this summer. Itís a 0.4-mile segment of River Street between Court Street and Racine Street.

The stretch includes businesses and services, including the city bus systemís transfer center and Riverís Edge Bowl.

The street will be open to local traffic only starting Monday, May 20. The street is expected to reopen to through traffic by the end of August.

The concrete pavementónow with tilted slabs and potholesówill be replaced, along with the curb and gutter, signs, landscaping, storm sewer, sidewalk and the city bike trail along the river.

The streetís footprint will not change.

The bike trail will have a better connection to the sidewalk of the Racine Street Bridge, and it will extend farther along the river before it connects to the River Street sidewalk to bypass some businesses, said Dave Bottcher of Bollinger, Lach & Associates, Lake Geneva, the state Department of Transportation consultant and project leader

Property owners will lose access during the times their driveway aprons are reconstructed and during paving, according to a city pamphlet.

The street itself, now with two travel lanes and two parking lanes, will lose one of the parking lanes but will gain two bicycle lanes.

The bicycle lanes might seem unnecessary because of the bike trail, but legislation requires that any federally funded street reconstruction accommodate bicycles and pedestrians, and that means on-street bicycle lanes and sidewalks, said Mike Payne engineering manager for city.

The parking lanes will be on the west side of River Street from Racine Street to Holmes Street and then on the east side from Holmes Street to McKinley Street.

The bike trail will be detoured during the project.

Special features: The city owns green space between the street and the Rock River on the south end of the project, and thatís where a rain garden will be planted in spring 2014.

The rain garden is intended to demonstrate what a rain garden can be and to absorb street runoff, trapping sand, brake dust and other contaminants before the water filters into the river, Payne said.

The rain garden will be 45 feet by 400 feet, or 0.4 acres.

River Street is one of the gateways to downtown, so ďwe feel itís going to be an amenity, an improvement over green space thatís there today,Ē Payne said.

Much of the rain garden will be planted in spring 2014.

Decorative street lights and terrace trees also are planned.

Bus traffic: The Janesville Transit System Transfer Center will remain open for most if not all of the construction period, but access to vehicles will change several times during the work. Signs will direct traffic.

The transfer center might be closed for one to two weeks, if necessary, and operations moved to a nearby parking lot.

Cost: $1.25 million, with about 80 percent paid by the state and federal governments, the rest by the city.

For more information: Call Dave Bottcher at 262-770-6405.

Last updated: 10:36 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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