Austin Main Street Construction Well Underway

Created: 02/25/2014 6:18 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- You probably don’t think of this time of year as “construction season”.
But in Austin, construction is in full swing.

“There was another concrete pour yesterday, so even with the cold temperatures they’re moving along,” said Austin city engineer Steven Lang.

And there’s a reason why this project is happening in the dead of winter.

“Getting in there this winter while the water table was low, before the Spring thaw,” engineer Steven Lang told us.

And that’s important, because one of the signature pieces of the project is construction of a flood wall with removable panels. It will be built near the Mill Pond on north main street.

“The elevation that we are currently digging to install this footing wall is right near the same elevation as the mill pond,” Steven Lang explained.

“When you look at the amount of hundred year floods Austin has had in the last 30 years it is obscene,” said city council member Steve King.

“And in the spring as the mill pond level raises the water table raises as well, and then we would be working in the water and we’d have to do more de-watering practices,” said city engineer Steven Lang.

Another key point of the project involves literally raising a stretch of north main street two feet to control flood water.

“It affects people’s livelihood if you are a business. It affects people’s property, and so to fix it is really a community effort,” said city council member Steve King.

But there are some challenges with taking on a project this big in the middle of one of the coldest winters in recent memory.

“There’s just time allotted at the beginning of the day to warm up the equipment,” city engineer Steve Lang said.

“All the snow out there n the roadway around the barriers and things like that, it is impacting traffic. We’re hoping for a good spring, but you really just never know until you really get into it.”

As part of the project, a stretch of north main will be closed to traffic around may first. It’s expected to reopen around the first of November.