St Augustine Public Works Director Martha Graham told Historic City News that she hopes to reopen the first section of Riberia Street, from King Street to Bridge Street, by Christmas Day.
Work on the first phase of the $8.2 million project began with a thirty-minute groundbreaking ceremony on April 18th; when eleven shovels hit the mound of pre-deposited dirt to applause from the assembled group of about 50 city staffers and residents.
George Gardner, former Mayor; Martha Graham, Public Works Director; Leo Masci, Masci Construction; Loran Lueders, Police Chief; Linda James, Lincolnville Crime Watch: Leanna Freeman, Vice Mayor; Mike Arnold, Fire Chief; Patrick Kelly, District Representative for Congressman John Mica; John Regan, City Manager; and Nancy Sikes-Kline, Commissioner, all participated in the groundbreaking ceremony.
The project includes installation of a stormwater management system, application of a new road surface, installation of sidewalks, and conversion of aerial power lines to underground.
A subsurface has already been laid on the first section, which has encouraged Graham that she will achieve her Christmas Day re-opening goal.
“There’s still work to be completed putting power lines underground — but that service is installed and ready for transfer from the poles,” Graham said.
Completion of both phases of the project will mean improvements along Riberia Street south from King Street all the way to the Willie Galimore Center and Vickers Park.
Graham says that the next phase of construction will commence in the spring. It is projected to take another year to complete.
Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer