One of the roughest streets in Eau Claire is slated for a through replacement this year, including decorative brick pavers, new lighting and trees to signal its place in the city’s newest redevelopment area.
Located in the Cannery District — an area along the west bank of the Chippewa River where the city is working to attract new housing and businesses — a portion of Oxford Avenue is among the street projects planned for 2020.
“It’s among the worst in the city,” city engineer Dave Solberg said about the three blocks of Oxford Street between West Madison and Platt streets.
The city is planning to totally rebuild the street and underground utilities, plus add decorative lighting, landscaping and brick pavers similar to what was installed along Barstow Street several years ago. Oxford Avenue is not intended to be an exact copy of downtown’s streetscape though, Solberg said, so the Cannery District gets its own identity as a “nice up and coming” part of Eau Claire.
“That will probably be our prettiest street this year,” Solberg said.
Adding some on-street parking and creating a more pedestrian-friendly design is also part of the city’s plan for Oxford Avenue.
That will be helped by a pedestrian underpass also planned this year under the west end of the Madison Street bridge. That would link sections of recreational trail behind Lazy Monk Brewing and the Cannery District, which are currently separated by busy Madison Street.
“When that underpass goes in, that will make a difference,” City Manager Dale Peters said.
Along with the underpass and Oxford Avenue roadwork, one block of Maxon Street in the Cannery District also is slated for construction this year.
More than 40 road, alley, trail and other public works projects scheduled for 2020 were summarized in a Tuesday evening work session of the City Council.
While none of the individual projects were as big an undertaking as the nearly mile-long reconstruction of State Street last year, the slate of 2020 projects will result in some temporary inconveniences during the construction season in parts of Eau Claire:
• The Historic Randall Park neighborhood will see major road construction on a few blocks of Chippewa Street, Second Avenue and Water Street, along with a less invasive resurfacing of a portion of Lake Street.
• Continuing prior years’ work to fix up roads in the residential neighborhood around Mount Nemo, the city will rebuild portions of South Slope Terrace and Wedgewood Avenue this year.
• Traffic going to Target may need to find an alternate route for a short time this summer as Gateway Drive directly to the east of the retail store will be resurfaced.
• Three blocks of Fairfax Street south of East Clairemont Avenue will be reconstructed this year. Portions of Fairfax Street farther to the south are expected to need roadwork in coming years, Solberg noted.
“Over the next five years, pretty much all of Fairfax will need treatment,” he said.
• A detour will be used to reach Riverview Park this summer when roadwork begins on Riverview Drive, Solberg said. Though the park and its north boat launch will remain open, its south boat launch will be closed during construction.
Public hearings on the city’s 2020 planned road and alleyway projects will be held in coming weeks with the first ones scheduled for Jan. 27.