By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Mar 03, 2011 at 8:02 AM

Winter's not technically over, but construction season is here. One of Downtown's first major projects is the rehabilitation of Plankinton Avenue between Wisconsin Avenue and Wells Street. Work has begun and will continue through the summer.

So, if you live, work or play in Downtown you'll be affected.  But, I wanted to give you the scoop on what's happening on Plankinton.

The city provided the following answers.

Q. What work is going to be done on Plankinton between Wisconsin and Wells?

A:  The project will begin with underground utility work. The sewer work will take place first. A sewer main will be installed along the center of Plankinton Avenue from Wells to approximately 175 feet south of Wells. Shortly after the sewer main is installed, the water main work will commence. A major water main will be installed the full length of the street. This work involves installing the water main piping, making various large branch service connections to buildings, completing pressure tests of the mains and water sample tests. After the sewer and water work is completed, street construction will commence. The street construction includes replacement of curb and gutter, driveway approaches, and some sidewalks and reconstruction of the roadway within existing widths with concrete pavement.

Q. What is the schedule of the work?

A. The work will be phased to accommodate St. Patrick Day celebrations. The winter weather delayed consideration of an earlier start for the underground utility work. The sewer work began Feb. 25 and be completed by March 11. No work will be performed from between March 11 and March 21 for St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

The water main work is expected to start on March 21 and take until the end of May, 2011. The street and sidewalk construction is scheduled to begin shortly thereafter and be completed by late August 2011.

Q. How will the St. Patrick's Day Parade take place (March 12) if the street is under construction?

A. The contractor will backfill the sewer trench and place cold-weather asphalt to provide a smooth and safe surface for parade participants. The contractor will also remove all construction equipment from the site between March 11 and March 21.

Q. Will the road remain open to traffic during construction?

A. Yes. Northbound traffic will remain open throughout construction. During the first phase of the paving contract, the westerly two-thirds of the street will be closed and one lane northbound will remain open. During the second phase of the roadwork, the east one-third of the street will be closed and northbound traffic will remain open on the newly constructed roadway.

Q. Will parking be allowed on the street during construction?

A. No, all parking will be removed from the street during construction.

Q. What about driveway and alley access?

A. Access to driveways and alleys will be maintained. Temporary restrictions affecting access due to construction will be coordinated with the affected stakeholders.

Q. What about pedestrian access?

A:  Pedestrian access to buildings and businesses will be maintained. As sidewalk is removed and before new sidewalk has been poured, gravel will be compacted to provide safe pedestrian access.

Q. What about the bus routes on Plankinton?

A. Because one-way northbound traffic will remain on Plankinton, the current bus routes will also remain on the street. If the Milwaukee County Transit System must move a route temporarily due to construction activities, they will post signs regarding the change.

Q. On a related project, what's happening with the Wisconsin Avenue bridge?

A. Currently the rehabilitation of the Wisconsin Avenue Bridge is being advertised for bids by the WisDOT and bids will be opened on March 15. The bridge is scheduled to be closed on or after Oct. 3, and is scheduled to be opened on or before Aug. 3, 2012.

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.