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June 17, 2019

Jamie Taylor/river newsThe real digging began on Stevens Street Monday morning, with detours and road closures springing up between Phillip Street and Timber Drive through sometime in June.
Jamie Taylor/river news

The real digging began on Stevens Street Monday morning, with detours and road closures springing up between Phillip Street and Timber Drive through sometime in June.
4/16/2019 7:30:00 AM
Work resumes on Stevens Street project after snowstorm
Kingman: 'This is when the fun begins'

Last Thursday's snowstorm temporarily halted work on the Stevens Street reconstruction project, but it did not delay the actual removal of road surface that got underway yesterday.

At last Monday's Common Council meeting, public works director Tim Kingman updated the alderpersons on the street and road construction that will be taking place in and around Rhinelander this summer, with the most disruptive being the $18.7 million Stevens Street reconstruction.

While this initial work did not disrupt traffic too much, yesterday was when the real digging was to begin. Although the wintry weather on Thursday and Friday prevented any work from being done, the delay won't stall the start of the more substantial work, Kingman said Friday

"Starting on the 15th, there will be more consequential work being done out there. We will have some road closures at the intersection of Stevens and Phillip and likely Stevens and Timber," Kingman told the council last Monday. "So this is when the fun begins, so to speak."

He said the goal is to get everything south of Timber Drive finished by June. This includes removing road surface, replacing underground pipes and other utilities, rebuilding the road surface and curbs, gutters and sidewalks.

"Thereafter, we will be fully engaged on construction north of the Stevens and Timber intersection for quite some time, going through until at least August," Kingman explained. "The goal is to have the intersection at the light at W and Stevens operable and functional for August. So it is a very lofty goal to get there, but we put some extra time in the contract to get there."

Also built into the construction schedule is a work shutdown to accommodate the Fourth of July and Hodag Country Festival traffic. Work on replacing the intersection of highways 8 and 47 with a roundabout is also slated to start soon. While not a city project, this project will result in a detour of much of the traffic to Boyce Drive for most of the summer. The main construction is being paid for by WisDOT, Oneida County is paying to have Kemp Street refurbished over the course of the summer.

"So there are many (construction activities) going on right now," Kingman said.

The Boyce Drive detour will put a temporary halt to the city's effort to improve pedestrian visibility at the crosswalk at that intersection plus add additional crosswalks on Kemp, but Kingman said that work should be finished late in the construction season once the detour is taken out.

In addition, the city crews have another list of projects to work on.

"City crews will be doing a great deal of curb replacement again," Kingman said, adding that the idea is to do the curb work on streets that will later be seal coated.

"We're trying to get out a year on curb replacement, and look at doing that next year," Kingman said. "We have seal coating to do from last year, which will be another activity that you will see on the street."

He also told the council that Woodland Drive would be a perfect candidate for a grind and overlay. The move would extend the lifespan of the road about 10 years before the city would need to replace all of the underground utilities.

Kingman also reported that the work on Timber Drive will have to wait another year because of the work being done to Stevens Street. He noted that Timber and Coolidge would be part of the detour network that will allow motorists to bypass the Stevens Street work zones.

The city will post updates on the street projects, detours and other construction information on the city's website,

Jamie Taylor may be reached via email at jamie@rivernews

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