The first phase of a Benson business district improvement project is about a week behind schedule because of wet weather in May and June, but construction is expected to wrap up by early August at the latest, according to an Omaha city official.
The project will convert the one-ways at Maple Street, 58th Street and Northwest Radial into a T intersection. Work began in mid-April and had been scheduled to finish in mid-July, said Matt Shimerdla, Omaha Public Works project manager.
The construction — paid for in part with state grant money and transportation safety funds — was coordinated with the Metropolitan Utilities District, which needed to replace aging water mains in the area. MUD's part of the project extends from Northwest Radial to just west of 59th Street, Shimerdla said, and the MUD work was expected to take about 40 days.
But rain and snow in late April into early May delayed crews, especially MUD workers, he said.
“They did great work catching up,'' Shimerdla said.
All pavement work could be completed yet this month, allowing east-west traffic through the business district as early as the week of July 21, he said.
One lane of Maple has remained open since the project's start, Shimerdla said. The effort began on Maple's southside lane, which allowed westbound motorists through the business district. The work is now shifting to the northside lanes, which allows eastbound vehicles onto Maple.
“We've still got some sidewalk and median issues to address,'' he said, but crews are aiming to have most of the work done in time for Benson's annual summer festivities around the end of this month.
The $560,000 project will make the intersection safer for pedestrians, and add parking on Northwest Radial, new landscaping and a sign welcoming people to Benson, said Shimerdla. A similar project at the western entrance to the neighborhood, near 63rd Street and Northwest Radial, is planned for 2015.