Construction: The new city hall project under construction on West Washington Street will cause a significant detour on the road beginning tomorrow and running through mid-February. (Tracy Agnew/Suffolk News-Herald)
Construction: The new city hall project under construction on West Washington Street will cause a significant detour on the road beginning tomorrow and running through mid-February. (Tracy Agnew/Suffolk News-Herald)

City Hall work to close road

Published 11:13pm Saturday, January 4, 2014

A flurry of construction during the next month or so will wrap up the outdoor work on the city’s new Municipal Center on West Washington Street.

Upcoming work will include the installation of new sidewalks, curbs, on-street parking and a turn lane from West Washington Street. Motorists will have to take a detour around the project for more than a month.

“We like it when we’re working indoors, but for the next month we’ll definitely be doing a lot of outdoor work,” said Deputy City Manager Patrick Roberts. “Probably one of the most conspicuous parts of the construction is the work in the right of way on Washington. We need a lot of cooperation and patience from folks.”

Beginning Jan. 6, through traffic on West Washington Street in front of the project, between Henley Place and North Street, will be detoured via Wellons, Jackson and Lee streets. Affected businesses in the area have been informed of temporary access routes. The detours are set to last through Feb. 15 if everything goes as planned.

“This is a very tricky time of year to be doing site work and infrastructure work, so if the weather cooperates we’ll stay on that schedule,” Roberts said. “But once that opens back up we’ll have a nice streetscape. We’re not likely to experience the type of flooding and other issues we’ve had out there.”

Roberts said the project is proceeding on budget and has not encountered any surprises so far.

“Our biggest challenge was literally getting out of the ground,” Roberts said. “Citywide, one of the biggest problems we run into is soil conditions.”

A couple of weeks ago, a sewer main near the site partially collapsed and had to be repaired, but it was unrelated to the construction, Roberts said.

The building, Roberts said, is actually two buildings and is separated inside by a large structural joint. The half closer to police department headquarters is progressing more quickly because construction is scheduled to be done there by May. The space then will be turned over to Motorola and its subcontractors to install all the equipment needed for the E911 center, where the city’s police, fire and rescue dispatching takes place.

“They need that by that time to get all the systems in there,” Buildings and Capital Programs Director Gerry Jones said.

The entire building should be done by September, when city workers will move in and demolition will begin on the current city hall behind the new building, as well as construction of the main parking lot for the building on the current footprint of the old building.

The new building was needed because the old building had significant structural issues and to bring city workers and services under one roof, city leaders have said.

The general contractor on the project is Armada Hoffler.

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