By Kristal Leebrick
Noise, dust and a whole lot of inconvenience will mark the summer of 2018 along Como Avenue between Commonwealth Avenue and Eustis Street in St. Anthony Park. Phase 2 of a multi-year paving project that began in 2017 will begin after the St. Anthony Park Arts Festival June 2 and take breaks for the neighborhood Fourth in the Park celebration and during the 12 days of the Minnesota State Fair, Aug. 23-Sept. 3.
Phase 2 will run from Commonwealth to Eustis Street and be staged in four increments, beginning at Eustis. Stage 1A (just east of Eustis to Hendon Avenue) and Stage 1B (from Hendon to Buford Avenue) are scheduled to be completed before July 4.
Stage 2 (between Buford Avenue and just past the Doswell Avenue intersection) will begin after July 4 and is scheduled for completion by Aug. 23. Construction of Stage 3 (just past Doswell to Commonwealth) will begin Sept. 5 and is scheduled for completion by Oct. 31.
The third phase of the repaving project will stretch from Eustis to the St. Paul city limits at Emerald Street and is scheduled for 2020.
The project includes adding new concrete curbs and gutters, new pavement, concrete driveway aprons, utility upgrades, new sidewalks and Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant pedestrian ramps, lantern-style street lighting with LED lights, sodded boulevards, the removal of all ash trees, dead trees and stumps, and planting of new trees on the boulevards. The trees in the raised planters in front of businesses on Como will be removed, as many were planted over existing water and sewer utilities, which will be replaced. There are other trees along the street that the city is asking the contractor to make a special effort to protect, according to project engineer Barb Mundahl. Many of the trees are on the St. Anthony Park Library lawn, she said.
The width of the street will be increased from 46 feet to 50 feet. The project will include 6-feet-wide painted bike lanes on both sides of the street. There will be no loss of parking on either side of the avenue between Commonwealth and Eustis.
Sidewalks in front of the businesses will be installed one side of the street at a time to provide pedestrian access at all times. “We will also provide temporary access ramps to businesses during construction as necessary,”Mundahl said.
Como Avenue was originally paved in 1921 and was last paved in 1960. The sidewalks along the street were installed in 1969. It had scored No. 12 out of 419 arterial streets that need work based on pavement condition.
You can find out more at www.stpaul.gov/departments/public- works/road-construction/como-avenue-paving-project.