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Posted: March 27, 2014 Eau Claire OKs merchant-friendly construction schedule

By Andrew Dowd

Taken from the Leader-Telegram



Without first seeing the price for keeping two-way traffic flowing on Menomonie Street during upcoming road work, the City Council agreed to an extended construction schedule favored by businesses.

In a 5-4 vote Tuesday - councilmen Michael Xiong and Dave Duax were absent - the council voted to approve a 12-week construction plan for the project, which city engineers believe will cost more and take twice as long as the original plan to use a detour.

"This is one time when we've got to say, 'Let's protect the businesses that currently exist in the area and give them the opportunity,' " said Councilman Bob Von Haden, who led the effort to the more business-friendly construction plan.

Several Menomonie Street business owners testified at Monday night's public hearing, and Von Haden said he visited one Tuesday and saw it still reeling from the Great Recession. Major road construction could be its "death nail," he said.

Councilman David Klinkhammer was among those who first wanted to see a price comparison between the original six-week plan and the 12-week construction alternative.

"To have one more piece of information, before we decide which option to choose, makes sense," he said. "Why not have all the information before we make a decision?"

Reconstructing Menomonie Street from Carson Park Drive to Clairemont Avenue cost $1 million under the original plan. The city didn't have an estimate Tuesday for the lengthier construction schedule.

To read the full story from the Leader-Telegram, click here.

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