Construction on the First Street Project will soon begin, and will span the course of almost two years.

Construction on the First Street Project will soon begin, and will span the course of almost two years.

Doug Whitacre, public works director, laid out the timeline for the different phases of the project during the first McPherson Town Hall Meeting of 2013.

The First Street Project will begin on May 23, and will renovate McPherson’s First Street to address issues with storm pipe locations and the road’s current condition.

Whitacre said the project will consist of four phases, and the first phase of the project should be completed before school reopens for the 2013-2014 school year.

“We didn’t want road torn up in front of the high school during school,” he said.

The first phase of the project will cover the intersection at North Hartup and First streets to the intersection at Cedars Drive and First Street. Second phase consists of Hartup to Main streets, the third phase consists of First Street west of Main Street and the final phase will consist of roadwork on East Hill and North Hartup to North Cherry. Construction is expected to finalize during the summer of 2014.
Whitacre said the flow of traffic won’t be affected during the construction, and one lane of traffic should flow both east and west.

As part of the construction, Whitacre said two major storm drain systems will be installed. One will be located just north of First Street, near Maple, and the other will be a large drainage system underneath the street.

Whitacre said the installation of the drainage systems will affect the elevation of the street, and that residents living on First Street will get a new driveway accesses as a result of the change in elevation.

Mayor Tom Brown said the goal was to get the water main as far to the side as possible, so the Board of Public Utilities wouldn’t need to tear up the road in order to access the water main.

Whitacre also said two intersections will change as a result of the construction. At North High and First streets, a right-turn deceleration lane will be installed on First Street, heading westbound. Whitacre said this will allow for three lanes at the intersection. At the west McPherson High School entrance, Whitacre said a rock island currently at the location will be removed, and a right-turn lane will be installed.

Other changes include new six-foot sidewalks on both sides of First Street, and a straightening of the center line on the street.

Whitacre assured those at the meeting that construction should take place during regular hours, and workers would not work late into the night. Whitacre said some work may be done during weekends, and that some parts of the road may be closed off completely for short periods of time, but that traffic flow in the long run should not be greatly affected.

In other business:

• Commissioners discussed other street projects, including the mill and overlay project. The projects will establish a thin layer of asphalt on Main Street, from Kansas Avenue south to the railroad. The project is federally funded, and will cost an estimated $200,000. About $110,000 will be provided in federal exchange funds.

• Bret Reynolds, building inspector, announced his desire to update the city building codes from the current 2003 international codes to the 2009 international codes. The most recent codes released are the 2012 international codes. Reynolds said he likes to stay behind by an edition in order to more easily facilitate the changes. Brown said some exceptions to the international codes likely will be made for the city.

• Joanna Clark, aquatics director, announced the recent installation of railing at the McPherson Water Park. She said railings have been installed on the steps leading into the pool, and a new lift chair will swing those who need it into the water. The changes, she said, were to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

• Brown discussed other projects, including the Front Porch Project and the Community Building Task Force. The Front Porch Project seeks to better direct visitors to McPherson’s downtown area, and the Community Building Task Force seeks to revamp McPherson’s community building. Brown said the city would like to tie these other projects to current bonding, rather than waiting until next August. No definitive dates have been established for either project.

Joseph Tuszynski can be reached at, or follow him on Twitter @JoeTSentinel.