November’s chill freezes paving work

November’s chill freezes paving work

November closed out as the 11th coldest on record. As a result, frost as deep as 8 to 10 inches below the surface put the brakes on the paving work at Drexel Town Square, according to Fred Hampe, vice president-construction for KM Development Corp.

The daily average temperatures during the eight days from Nov.14 to 21 were around 15 degrees below normal. In fact, on Nov. 17, in the middle of that blast of early season arctic air, the average temperature was only 14.5 degrees, almost 24 degrees below normal.

The paving sections that were completed before the freeze include access from Howell and Drexel avenues and a section of 6th Street from Forest Hill to Clock Tower. “We wanted to get all of 6th Street paved but the weather prevented that,” Hampe said. Prior to the freeze, work was completed on schedule for all utility infrastructure – water, sanitary and storm system.

In addition to the rest of 6th Street, the pavement work at the Town Square and Main Street will have to wait until spring. Per the original schedule, the sections in the Town Square featuring colored pavers will be completed in the spring of 2015.

A concrete shortage earlier this year also caused some delays in paving work. The shortage was caused by a combination of demand, due to the multiple road projects in southeastern Wisconsin, and last winter’s polar vortex that caused Lake Michigan to freeze for the first time in 20 years. A majority of the concrete used in Wisconsin comes from Michigan. Cargo ships could not travel across the frozen lake to deliver the needed material.

The weather also delayed the start of construction for several private projects at the DTS site including the Sheraton Four Points Hotel, according to Jerry Franke, WISPARK LLC president.

Despite the impact of the weather and material constraints, progress is continuing at DTS. In fact, the real estate transaction for the Water Street Brewery closed in early December. Construction is under way on the restaurant/brew pub that will cover a 2.5-acre site at the corner of Drexel and Howell avenues. It is scheduled to open in the summer of 2015.

WiRED Properties, a development partner at the DTS site, will begin construction in January 2015 on the area along Main Street, which will feature a dynamic mixed-use environment of retailers, restaurants and housing.

WISPARK LLC, the real estate development subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy Corporation is the master developer for this site. The property is owned by One West Drexel LLC, which is a public/private partnership of the City and the developer designed to oversee the development of the property. Other entities that are part of the development team include Zilber Property Group, ENVIRON Consulting, GRAEF Engineering, Rinka Chung Architects, KM Construction Management and MidAmerica Real Estate Group.