The long awaited Hillcrest Drive Rehabilitation Project is mere days away from being substantially complete enough to accommodate traffic on the new road — with contract crews taking advantage of a necessary closure to move the project “far ahead” of schedule, Director of Engineering Micah Siemers said this week.
“The contractor is moving much more quickly on this project than anticipated,” Siemers said Monday. “We realize closure of the road for the past two weeks has been an inconvenience, but contractor Brent Bell Construction has taken full advantage of the opportunity provided by the closure and is very close to having the new road open for traffic. If all goes well, it will be opened up Monday.”
While the project has been ongoing since April and detours have been in place in the immediate area throughout, this is the third week of a planned, full three-week closure of the road, with traffic detoured just west of the roundabout at Silver Lake Road and Price Road and on Shawnee Avenue near Bartlesville High School.
“The goal of closing the road completely was to construct the connection between the new alignment and the existing alignment at the Caney River in a shorter period of time than if we kept one lane open with the temporary traffic signals,” Siemers said. “The contractor has exceeded our expectations for what could be accomplished by doing this.”
He said the full closure has worked very well because contract crews have also been able to work on other areas that would have proven difficult if the road had still been open to traffic while subcontractors continued to work on remaining items at the river connection.
Siemers said contract crews constructed the connection at the river last week and laid the base lifts of asphalt there Friday morning.
“They have also been able to construct the Shawnee Avenue turn lane and connection and have the base lifts of asphalt there as well,” he said. “This work was being completed while the concrete subcontractor was forming and pouring curb and gutter at the river connection. Also, while that work was ongoing, they have been working on grading the drainage ditch on the west side of the project and have sodded that area.”
Siemers said workers began laying the top lift of asphalt on the entire roadway, including the river connection, on Monday.
“If all goes well, they will finish laying asphalt by mid-week this week, and the striping crew will move in to stripe the entire project this Friday,” he said.
Street signage will be installed then as well, he said.
Siemers said at the end of the three week closure — slated for Monday, Sept. 20 — the new roadway will be complete and traffic will be opened up on the new alignment.
“Most likely we won’t even have to keep Shawnee closed after this phase as originally planned due to the amount of progress they have made,” Siemers said. “At that point, the remaining work will be finishing grading and drainage between the new road and what will be left of the existing roadway that will be used for trail and generally cleaning up the site and moving towards completion.”
Siemers said there may be some remaining work on drainage structures at the south end of the project, but the contractor can work on those areas via the old roadway/trail if necessary to avoid disrupting traffic.
“While I still don’t have a hard date for completion, they are on track to have this wrapped up well before we expected later this year,” Siemers said. “It is likely they will be finished in early fall rather than towards the end of the year, assuming favorable weather conditions continue.
“The contractor, Brent Bell Construction, has done an excellent job manning the project and keeping progress moving to finish as quickly as possible. Thankfully the really wet conditions early in the project lifted and they have taken full advantage of good weather.”