The first three phases of a five-phase project to rebuild the street and sidewalks around Main and Market streets in Historic Downtown Bethlehem are expected to be finished by July 26, a full week ahead of the start of Musikfest, according to a city engineer.
On that day, work crews are expected to remove construction signs, equipment and clean the site, giving the city a full week to prepare for Musikfest’s opening night on August 3.
Kiel Fortner, a city section engineer, sent an updated construction schedule to Downtown Bethlehem Association members early this week. To date, the work schedule has not gone exactly as planned.
“As with most construction activities, there have been some unexpected conditions that have forced us to revise our previously submitted construction schedule in order to both accommodate the business owners on Main Street to the best of our ability as well as to address unique/challenging field conditions inherent with working in a historic district,” Fortner wrote in an email to the merchants.
Initially, when work started on June 11, Mike Alkhal, the city’s director of public works predicted that those first three phases would be completed in 21 working days, or a little more than four weeks. At that point, the plan was to clean up the construction site for Musikfest and resume work once the festival is over.
Despite the delays, the schedule indicates that is still the plan. The schedule Fortner sent to merchants indicates that the site will be remobilized for construction on August 14, two days after the festival ends.
During the weeks that follow, contractors will tear up the intersection and rebuild it to include a granite inlay of a Bethlehem star.
The five-phase project to rebuild the Main and Market intersection is the first of a larger $3.2 million six-phase project to overhaul the Main Street streetscape between Broad to Church streets.