The Sycamore Street underpass project has been delayed.

Grand Island Public Works Director John Collins said that the project was supposed to be completed at the end of this month, but due to wind and rain it is now expected to open to traffic at the end of October.

The approximately $1.8 million project addresses long-standing concerns about the underpass structure. The project includes complete removal and reconstruction of the South Front Street bridge and roadway. The Sycamore Street frontage road between Third and South Front streets also is being reconstructed.

The bridge deck was also removed and a water line was rerouted.

The project addresses drainage issues with storm sewer construction and the removal and replacement of the storm water lift station. Repairs will also be made to retaining wall concrete and handrails.

“One of the big things is we will not have to close the underpass every time we get a sprinkle,” Collins said. “We are replacing the pumps and we are adding some drainage behind the retaining wall. One of the reasons the retaining walls were starting to slope inward was it was getting a lot of water and washing out the material. We added some pipe behind there to pull the water forward and into the drain. The retaining walls themselves are being patched and replaced.”

Collins said the contract for the project was awarded in November 2018 and was started later that month. The construction work is being done by Diamond Engineering Company, the original contractor of the underpass that was constructed in the 1950s.

He added crews are currently finishing up work on the retaining walls and that “there is a lot of cleanup work there.”

Collins said the work on the South Front Street bridge over the underpass is nearly complete.

“The South Front Street bridge that was going over the underpass has been completely replaced,” he said. “We tore the old one out and completely rebuilt it because it had deteriorated to the point where it was nearly collapsed.”

Collins said once the Sycamore Street underpass project is complete, the underpass should last “at least 50 years, if not 80 before we have to do too much to it.”

In other projects, on Monday, the Streets Division of the Public Works Department began work with Iteris Inc. of Lincoln to optimize traffic signal timings and operations along the Highway 281 and Webb Road corridors from Capital Avenue to the Highway 30 interchange.

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