MARQUETTE - Marquette's long-awaited McClellan Avenue extension is almost complete, weeks ahead of schedule.
Major construction work on the project is wrapped up and the new road should open within a few weeks, according to city engineering staff.
"We're looking at an early September opening," City Engineer Keith Whittington said. "We're just waiting for our traffic signals to be up and operational."
Construction workers are shown Tuesday morning finishing up the road that links McClellan Avenue to Wright Street. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
Current plans call for traffic signals to be installed at the new McClellan Avenue intersections with Fair Avenue and Wright Street.
The project is about 95 percent complete, according to Jim Perry, vice president of Marquette's Oberstar Inc., which is serving as the general contractor for the project. Perry said there is a bit of sodding work remaining, in addition to painting lines on the road and installing signal lights.
Oberstar's contract with the city stipulates that the project be completed by Oct. 31, but Perry said the warm year has allowed the company to fast-track the project.
"We just had a nice early spring and we were able to get going a month early," he said.
More than half of the total project will be funded by grants, according to city officials.
The Michigan Department of Transportation requested bids and selected Oberstar as the contractor. MDOT will pay the contractor and the city will reimburse MDOT for all costs above and beyond the grant amount. City staff said projects are often handled in this way when MDOT grants are involved.
Officials have said the estimated cost of the project is about $2 million and the city is expected to foot roughly $800,000 of that cost. The rest will be covered by grants from Michigan's Federal Demonstration funds and the state's Transportation Economic Development fund.
Whittington is glad the project - which was first discussed nearly five decades ago - is finally complete, and he is happy it is wrapping up in such a timely manner.
"I think it was a combination of the early spring and the contractor really putting a big effort in to get it done as soon as possible," Whittington said.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.