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Alderman Explains Meinecke Change from an Engineer's Perspective

So-called "delay" is a calculated decision to shorten the time of North Avenue's closing, says Ald. Jeff Roznowski. And, he adds, area will be opened to holiday traffic.

Ald. Jeff Roznowski is dismayed with "delay."

The use of the word, that is.

Headlines in local media – both in Wauwatosa Patch and WauwatosaNOW – have used "delays" to characterize what Roznowski considers to be a significant improvement in the schedule of the Meinecke Avenue Sewer Project – specifically the closing of North Avenue.

He'd like to set the record straight. And for the record – he's right.

Wea culpa.

It hasn't been adequately explained just why the closing of North Avenue was set back by at least two weeks. The main focus has been on when the avenue would reopen, and how that would affect businesses over the holidays.

The project timeline of the Meinecke sewer work called for closing North Avenue on Monday, just after Menomonee River Parkway reopened.

But it was reported last week in local media that the North Avenue closing would be moved back until mid- to late October, and that reopening would be some time around Thanksgiving – encroaching on the holiday shopping season.

The "delay" was attributed to the decision to use directional boring to place a sanitary sewer line under North Avenue at 90th Street before excavating an open trench through the intersection to install the massive stormwater piping.

But the point, said Roznowski, who is himself an engineer, is that doing so will shorten the time the intersection is closed by two weeks.

Yes, Roznowski said, the reopening will come at about the same time either way, and that's unavoidable and subject to circumstances. But in any case, having the avenue closed for a shorter time is good all around.

"I just want it understood that the decision to do directional boring is a good thing, not a bad thing," Roznowski said. "It cuts two weeks off the time the intersection is closed."

"If we could find a way to cut more time off, we would, and we will if that opportunity presents itself," he said.

"But this is a way to reduce the total time that it's closed, by two weeks, and that's good for everybody."

Roznowski explained that in the Meinecke Project, the much-smaller sanitary sewer line is being placed underneath the stormwater pipe. In most of the project area, that's being done by trenching – very deep trenching, some 25 feet.

That requires boxing in the trench to keep it from collapsing, and extends the time to complete the time the job once the storm sewer and other utilities are installed above.

"Do we wish we could shorten the time overall, and not infringe on any of our businesses in this district?" Roznowski said. "Of course. But this was a way to reduce the length of the closing, which is good for businesses, shoppers, commuters, everybody.

"And we will not allow the project to hurt holiday traffic for those businesses, either, I can guarantee you that," he said. "If we have to, we will shut down work once the infrastructure is in place and we will open North Avenue for shopping."

Betty October 10, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Kudos to Ald.Roznowski. He has kept the affected residents up to speed on what is happening with this very disruptive project after the City left us all in the dark. Makes me wonder why we need two alders, when one competent one can do the work of two.

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