The final plans for the South Main Street project have divided the project into two sections providing better access to both sections during the entire construction period.


The final plans for the South Main Street project have divided the project into two sections providing better access to both sections during the entire construction period.

Barricades are scheduled to go up Wednesday, June 1 and brick removal is scheduled to start Thursday, June 2, said Garrett Cloyd, Smoky Hill project superintendent.

Although the project is now split into a north and south section, the overall construction time will be the same with about two months scheduled for the first portion and two months for the second portion, Cloyd said.  

Originally the plan called for the entire five blocks to be shut down with temporary crosswalks in the middle of each block. But the time necessary to put down those cross walks at the end of each work day would take up a lot of construction time and it was a safety factor. This method keeps the construction area well defined and makes it safer for pedestrian traffic.

“We think this is probably best for everyone,” Cloyd said. “We know it’s an inconvenience and it’s going to affect everyone. We will try to minimize that.”

That consideration plus the desire of downtown merchants to have as much access to their businesses as possible and the same construction time made it possible to split the project into two sections.

“They can to it just as fast for the same dollars, said Pratt City Manager Dave Howard.

This will allow cars to park on at least part of South Main during construction. Once the construction portion is done the parking areas will be blocked off for a couple of days while the parking stripes are painted.

Phase one of the project will run from Sixth Street north to the middle of the 300 block. During that time all side street access to South Main on Third, Fourth and Fifth Streets will be blocked. Customers will only have to walk a block and a half at the furthest point to reach any business in the construction area, Howard said.

Once the first half is done it will be open to traffic and the north half will be closed from First Street to the middle of the 300 block.

No temporary sidewalk across the middle of the street will be used during construction.

Smoky Hill will park on areas within the construction site and at a staging area so their vehicles will not take up customer parking spaces.

Vehicles on U.S. 54 will not have access to the construction area on South Main.

The city has brainstormed to figure out all the issues but with a construction project like this there are bound to be some unexpected issues. Any merchant with a problem is encouraged to contact the city and they will work hard to get a solution, Howard said.

Some business parking lots will still be designated as public parking lots as well, said Project Spokesman Bruce Pinkall.

Signage will be used throughout the area to show parking areas. Businesses are encouraged to put their name and address on their alley doors as a safety factor and a convenience for customers, said Pratt Fire Chief David Kramer. 

Firefighters have practiced for a limited access to downtown in case of a fire. The names and addresses on the back door will help the firefighters in the event of a fire.

Weekly construction meetings will be held to keep the city and merchants updated on the progress of the project, Howard said.