Weather permitting, motorists could soon begin using the westernmost segment of 10th Street again.
A major drainage improvement/repair project could largely be completed and 10th Street between North West and Washington avenues reopened to traffic over the next two weeks, Mayor Paul Choate said.
The latest phase of the project has been ongoing since early August of 2023, forcing the removal of a small bridgeway and the closure of 10th Street for several months.
On Jan. 24, Robert Edmonds, director of public works, reported that crews had laid the final 100 feet of a concrete, pour-in box culvert and with 10 - 15 days of dry weather, crews could soon begin repouring the road and sidewalk in the area.
The culvert spans several hundred feet on the north side of 10th Street.
Work on the drainage project has been slowed by winter storms that covered the area in sleet, snow and ice in mid-January and since then, bouts of heavy rain, some of which has lasted for multi-day stretches.
This week, workers could be seen pouring concrete in the westbound lane near the bridgeway on 10th Street.
Edmonds previously said that rock would be added to the concrete base of the street.
"They've poured half of it. One lane has been poured and it has to set for about a week -- six days and you can probably get on it," Choate said.
If the weather allows, crews could begin pouring concrete in the eastbound lane -- which would call for another six- to seven-day period optimal humidity level to allow the concrete to cure -- next week.
"If all goes well, we should have 10th Street open to traffic week after next. There are a lot of variables but that's our best guess right now," said Choate.
"We've got some cleaning up to do and some grass to plant to finish out that project but we're getting close to getting 10th Street open," he added.
The city will then focus on milling and repaving segments of 10th Street on either side of the bridgeway as a part of the city's annual street repaving program.
"There were a couple of blocks we did not get to (last year) because we knew there was going to be construction and heavy trucks and equipment," said Choate.
He said the city's asphalt supplier, Jet Asphalt & Rock Company, will soon undergo a shutdown.
"They're getting ready to be down for about a month, so we're waiting to get to (the milling and repaving) when the plant gets back up and running," said Choate.
Work on the drainage project initially began in 2020.
The work faced several delays, a change of contractors and efforts to correct repairs that had been made in 2020 and 2021 by the first of two contractors. Corrective measures called for the removal of pipes that had reportedly been installed improperly and caused the ground to give way between Williams Court Apartments, 1600 N. Washington Ave., and Banderas Steakhouse, 200 W. 10th St.
The erosion of the ground created a large chasm that swallowed two outdoor heating and cooling units at Williams Court.
The city replaced the units and erected temporary barriers to stabilize the ground and prevent any further threats to the apartment complex as work progressed on installing the box culvert.
Edmonds said a headwall has been installed on the south side of the street and crews will add a sidewalk, curb and gutters, along with the concrete pour for the road.
Choate said work is also nearing completion on a project to replace the roof of City Hall.
Work got underway in late January to replace the leaky roof of the municipal building.
Choate previously said the work could have been completed by the end of this week.
However, he said crews encountered an unexpected issue with the roof that will increase costs for additional time and materials.
"They got down to original concrete pan and when they got down in there, they discovered concrete over asphalt, so they're having to chop up some concrete and some asphalt," Choate said.
Water infiltration in the roof had been ongoing years and had grown worse after years of patch jobs.
When ceiling tiles caved in last year in the second-floor conference room, the damage and the condition of the roof were inspected.
Choate reached out to the Arkansas Municipal League, through whom the city holds property insurance on City Hall and other municipal properties, and filed a claim.
The AML determined that a total roof replacement was in order at an estimated at $180,000.
The city is kicking in $28,000 from its capital outlay budget for the $10,000 insurance deductible and approximately $18,000 to upgrade a slope on the roof -- work that will allow water to drain off the roof faster, said Choate.
"The one thing we did find, we're going to turn over to the insurance company for the time and materials that are going to be added to it," said Choate. "It's going to be what it's going to be but this time we're going to get it right."
With rain forecast for the weekend, Choate said crews sealed up the roof Thursday and left early for the weekend.
"If they get a good week next week, they're going to get close. I'm real pleased with the reports I'm getting," the mayor said.
He previously noted that no leaks were reported during rain and thundershowers last weekend.