Boscawen to be closed near mall for next 2 weeks

Posted: April 11, 2013

The Winchester Star

Boscawen Street will be closed for about two weeks between Indian Alley and Cameron Street. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)
Renovation work at the north end of the Loudoun Street Mall is nearing completion. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — Trips through the heart of the city will be rerouted for a while, but cafes soon will return to the Loudoun Street Mall.

Perry Eisenach, the city’s public services director, said Wednesday that Boscawen Street will be closed in the pedestrian mall area for two weeks beginning today. The closure is needed so a new street surface can be installed as part of the mall utility replacement project.

The work includes pouring the concrete underlay, giving it time to set, and installing the surface bricks and pavers, he said. The intersection will feature a compass design that marks the location as the city’s former geographic center.

“We’re telling everybody to allow two weeks,” Eisenach said at the weekly update meeting on the $7.1 million project.

Boscawen Street was closed Jan. 2-11 so utility lines could be replaced, and it has been shut down temporarily a few times since then.

About the time Boscawen reopens, outdoor dining also should return along the mall.

Eisenach said restaurateurs should be able to begin reinstalling their outdoor cafe areas on April 25. That’s just in time for the Bloomin’ Wine Fest (April 26-27) that kicks off the 86th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival.

HRI Inc., which is based in State College, Pa., but has an office in Winchester, is replacing underground infrastructure along the pedestrian mall, installing a new surface and adding ground-level amenities. The project’s cost includes $700,000 for public bathrooms, gateway entrances and a splash pad.

Construction is to be completed by May 1. The company has until May 31 to finish the landscaping.

Eisenach said all below-surface concrete and electrical-conduit work should be finished by the end of this week. Workers also have installed about 75 percent of the giant jigsaw puzzle that is the mall’s new walking surface.

The water features at each end of the mall and the splash pad fountain should be operating when Apple Blossom gears up in the opening days of May, he said, and all the new streetlights also should be working. Trees and larger shrubs along the mall also could be planted before the festival.

While the construction work originally contracted is slated to be finished by May 1, Eisenach said additional surface work must be done and will be completed after Apple Blossom.

He said trucks took their toll on the bricks along Rouss Avenue, which were not slated to be replaced, and some touch-up work will be done behind the new public bathrooms on the south end of the mall.

“As we got into the project,” he said, “we saw that it would be necessary to change all the bricks on Rouss Avenue. They just didn’t hold up.”

The additional work will cost $60,000, he said.

Irvin Shendow, co-owner of Bell’s Fine Clothing at 122 N. Loudoun St., asked that the temporary fencing that still blocks east-west travel along part of the pedestrian mall’s north end be removed more promptly once a section of walking surface is complete.

At times, he said, the saw used to cut bricks and pavers can be as far as 200 feet behind where crews are laying the new surface, with completed walkway in between blocked off.

“We’ve been on them about that,” Eisenach said, promising to continue pushing for as much access as possible.

— Contact Vic Bradshaw at vbradshaw@winchesterstar.com