New bricks to go down soon on mall
Posted: February 14, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — If you’re anxious about what the Loudoun Street Mall will look like once construction concludes, you’ll be able to see part of it soon.
Construction workers began removing all existing bricks from the south end of the mall Wednesday and should begin installing new bricks and pavers soon.
“That last week of February you’ll start seeing new bricks go down,” Perry Eisenach, the city’s public services director, said Wednesday morning at a weekly update meeting on the project. “As they do that, you’ll start to see some of the green fence come down.
“It’s really going to start taking shape in the next two weeks. You’ll really start to see the finished product.”
HRI Inc., a State College, Pa., company with an office in Winchester, is being paid $7.1 million to replace underground utility lines along the Loudoun Street Mall, install a new surface and add some ground-level amenities. That cost includes $700,000 for public bathrooms, gateway entrances and a splash pad water feature.
The company has until April 30 to complete the construction and until May 31 to finish the landscaping.
The project is the first major renovation of the pedestrian mall since it was built in 1974, covering about 1,600 feet between Piccadilly and Cork streets.
The schedule developed for the project estimated that the reinstallation of the mall surface would begin the week of March 4, so work is running a bit ahead of plans.
Eisenach said that by the end of this week, all the replacement water and sewer mains and service lines to buildings should be installed on the south end, and crews are preparing to place storm pipe in the ground.
Concrete pouring in areas where bricks have been removed is expected to begin today, he added.
The brick and paver work at building entrances, Eisenach said, will be done at times that will “minimize disruption” as much as possible and not impede access to stores.
“It’s going to be tricky,” he said. “You might have to walk through a little sand, but there’s not going to be anything dangerous or be any big machinery you’ll have to walk through.”
Stephen Shendow, co-owner of Bell’s Fine Clothing, noted that until the new bricks and pavers are installed, there will be a “lip” at building entrances. He said it might be helpful to paint the cement in that area to help alert pedestrians of the slight step.
City Construction Inspector Drew Brady said a number of new signs warning people to watch their step would be placed in the area throughout the day.
The brick and paver replacement takes detailed coordination, Eisenach said, because crews will be working the width of the mall while trying to maintain pedestrian access along it and to businesses.
Work on the north end of the mall also is proceeding at a good pace, he said. Workers were a few hundred feet from Piccadilly Street Wednesday.
While the construction has disrupted business along the retail and restaurant corridor, at least one business has grown its customer base.
“They watch the construction, turn around and see Red Fox Creamery,” Brian Lewis, co-owner of the eatery, said before the meeting. “I’ve gotten a lot of new customers.”
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