Beginning this spring, six blocks along Main Avenue will be closed so the city of Durango can replace the sidewalks.
The city is replacing about 15 percent of the sidewalks downtown that are tripping hazards and have an unsightly surface, said City Engineer Gregg Boysen.
The blocks between Seventh Street and 14th Street, along with the side streets from Main Avenue east to the alley before East Second Avenue and west to Narrow Gauge Avenue will get new sidewalks.
Construction will occur in two phases in an attempt to minimize the impact on local businesses. The sidewalks along Main Avenue will be replaced starting in March, and the side street sidewalks will be replaced in the fall.
Boysen said the project will cost about $1.9 million, which will come out of the city’s general fund. A $500,000 energy grant also is going toward the project. The city intends to have business owners pay for 50 percent of the costs, similar to the 50/50 match sidewalk program the city has with residents. But that proposal still has to go before City Council, Boysen said.
Workers will spend two weeks on each block, starting at Seventh Street and moving north to 14th Street before crossing the street and moving back south. The city will be working on two blocks at a time.
Traffic will be reduced to one lane on the side of the street workers are on. The city’s parade barricades will be set up to create a walk path for pedestrians and entrances to each of the businesses.
Businesses will be open during the construction, but if the sidewalk outside the front entrance needs to be replaced, the business will have to close for one day.
FCI Constructors, which constructed the Durango Community Recreation Center, was hired for the project and will be working from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.
Tree roots are uplifting several sections of sidewalk along Main Avenue and causing the tripping hazards. The current grates surrounding the trees will be replaced with larger grates, and the sidewalk curb will be raised about 2 inches, Boysen said.
The city’s arborist will inspect every tree to see if any need to be removed, but the city has not proposed to remove any of the trees at this time, Boysen said.
Along with replacing the sidewalks, the city is installing power for two electric car chargers for each block, new fiber optic lines, drip irrigation for the trees and new Christmas light and historic street lamp electrical circuits.