First Avenue in the West Grand Avenue area is currently open to traffic after being closed for several weeks. City of Eau Claire Transportation Engineer Ross Spitz says the first phase of the jail project is now complete and city leaders are working with the DNR to get a permit to now be able to do work near the Chippewa River. He says once the DNR gives that permit, the second phase of the project will begin. City of Eau Claire Project Engineer Tim Pluth says he anticipates that to happen the week of July 16 or the following week. He says that means First Avenue will again be closed at that time and remain that way for several weeks.
Director of the Department of Planning and Development for Eau Claire County, Mel Erickson, says the first phase involved some utility work near the Second Avenue entrance to the courthouse, along with demolition and construction of Second Avenue from the law enforcement parking garage to the new entrance to the county parking lot. The second phase will involve demolition and construction of First Avenue from the entrance of the jail parking lot to the intersection of First Avenue and Lake Street. Erickson says all utilities will be replaced and the recreation trail will be widened. Rip-rapping will also be done on the Chippewa River bank for reconstruction of the trail. He says this phase should be completed at the end of August.
As for the courthouse building itself, Erickson says, next week demolition will begin on the ground and first floors of the Courthouse addition that includes the Register of Deeds office, Sheriff's Department administration office, and Detectives office. He says new offices and a conference room in the new jail will be used until a new space in the courthouse is ready for those offices in September of 2013.
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