Construction work on Petersburg’s downtown streets is shutdown for the winter.

The rebuilding of streets, sidewalks and drainage on main street started up in September. The first phase of work focused on the sidewalks and roadway on main street near the Trading Union, along with portions of Dolphin street. However the work was halted last week before a subcontractor could pour new concrete roadway on main street and the uphill side of Dolphin. The winter shutdown was scheduled for November 17th.

At a progress meeting Tuesday, Matt McGuan, project engineer with the design and engineering company Dowl HKM, explained that this fall’s cold weather held up concrete work. “In October we experienced about 13 freezing days where normally we might experience about one or two,” McGuan said. “And we got to the point where we actually had about one to two feet of frost in the ground and you just can’t place concrete on top of frozen ground. So we lost about seven or eight days there and it just got to a point where we didn’t want to get into a situation where we got so far along that we couldn’t stop and then we’d just have a bad final product and a big mess on our hands so we got to a point where we were comfortable with what we had accomplished and you know we decided at that point to button everything up for the winter.”

Instead of finished concrete, the roadway is temporarily filled with crushed rock for the winter months and will be maintained by the contractor Secon during that time. City public works director Karl Hagerman thought the early shutdown is unfortunate but preferable to redoing concrete. “With the prospect of putting down some concrete that may not have cured correctly and would have had to been removed in the spring it would have been not only a waste of money but it would’ve just impacted residents or the business owners in that end of town that much more to have to tear something out and redo it,” Hagerman said. “So it’s unfortunate but its probably better just to call it off for this year and start up again in the spring with the knowledge that whatever goes down should be down for good and done correctly.”

The work is a joint project involving the state and the city, using a four million dollar federal earmark. Contracting and sub-contracting companies were able to finish all the curb, gutter and sidewalks in the phase one area and the pavement is finished on the west side of Dolphin Street. About a week of concrete pouring is left in the first phase. Future phases will redo main street all the way to Haugen Drive, along with two blocks of Excell Street.

Secon is hoping to restart work in early March, weather permitting. The west side of Excel street near the loading dock for Trident Seafoods is the next portion planned. The contract completion date is October 31st although the work could be finished before then. Work shutdowns are also planned for Mayfest and the Fourth of July holidays next year.