By RICK HAYES
MT. VERNON — —
A major north-south artery from Broadway to Veterans Memorial Drive — South 34th Street — was officially open to traffic on Friday.
City officials conducted a ribbon-cutting at Peach Street, near J.L. Buford Intermediate Center, to mark the end of the more than a year project. Moniger Excavating Company, Inc. of Moro was awarded the low bid of $1.6 million for the project, with Hanagan & Associates doing the architectural work.
"This is another project that is very impressive for the city of Mt. Vernon," Mayor Mary Jane Chesley at the ribbon-cutting. "This summer has been an exciting summer for the city. Last month we announced the beam signing for the $95 million expansion at Continental Tire and that meant 80 new jobs. Then June 21 we had the ribbon-cutting for the long-awaited Veterans Memorial Drive and South Davidson extension that opens up hundreds of acres of land for retail, commercial, and residential development."
Chesley said when she was a councilman the city resurfaced 34th Street from Broadway to Peach, including sidewalks and guttering.
"That was done because of the school here, but we ran out of money. We picked it up with the council's help and with those we worked on the Comprehensive Plan. This is another one we can mark off the list," the mayor continued. "The city promised to do this project and we have completed this project."
Chesley said the north-south connection to Veterans Memorial is now safer and will provide easier access to apartments, the new aquatic center and Good Samaritan Regional Health Center.
Work on the project was halted in October 2012 for the winter, due to weather concerns. Construction resumed in March. During the winter, motorists and residents of the area bypassed the sections of the roadway from Water Tower Place to Veterans Memorial Drive.
The re-alignment of South 34th Street and Veterans Memorial Drive south is expected to be ready for construction in 2014, according to information provided by the city.