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Portions of Main Street in Gainesville to be closed for water line replacement
Both directions of Main Street at the intersection with Jesse Jewell Parkway will be closed beginning Monday as work begins to replace water lines. - photo by Norm Cannada

Portions of Main Street in Gainesville will be closed beginning Monday for up to eight weeks as workers replace 100-year-old cast-iron water lines in advance of the city’s streetscape project slated to begin in June.

Angela Sheppard, Gainesville assistant city manager, said Thursday both the northbound and southbound sides of Main Street at the intersection with Jesse Jewell Parkway will be closed beginning Monday as workers bore under Jesse Jewell Parkway. She estimated the boring would take about three weeks, after which the northbound side of Main Street is expected to reopen. The southbound side, which is actually where the water lines will be replaced, is expected to be closed a total of eight weeks.

Motorists will be detoured to other area streets including Maple, Broad and Academy streets while the sections of Main Street are closed. Motorists and pedestrians will have access to the Gainesville square, the Brenau Downtown Center, CVS Pharmacy, Slack Auto Parts and all other nearby businesses, according to Sheppard.

“We feel like there are enough alternative routes that it would be as little disruption as possible,” she said, adding that affected businesses have been notified of the street closing.

While the water lines are a century old, Sheppard said there is not a specific problem requiring the replacement work.

“It wasn’t that there was any defect with the line currently, but we knew they would need to be replaced,” she said. “Since we were doing the streetscaping work, we were trying to put it all in concert together and say, ‘Hey, it makes a lot of sense that while we’re kind of being disruptive, let’s do it all at one time and finish it out with a nice product at the end.’”

The $140,000 water line replacement includes replacing the lines and testing the water after the work is completed.

The $400,000 streetscaping project is slated to run from Jesse Jewell to College Avenue, bringing new and wider sidewalks, landscaped areas and decorative lighting, and it will eventually connect to the Midtown Greenway and pedestrian bridge, according to Sheppard.

“We’re going to be doing some improvements, some better designated areas for some of the businesses as far as their entrances and exits, so I think it’s going to turn out nicely,” she said.

That streetscape contract has the work scheduled for 150 days, but Sheppard said she is hopeful the work will be completed earlier.

“We want to thank everyone in advance for their patience,” Sheppard added. “We know this will be inconvenient for downtown motorists. We will make sure the detour routes are clearly marked.”