The West Hickory Street makeover has slowed some as city crews wait for the University of North Texas and Atmos Energy to finish their own upgrades along the northern edge of the main campus.
But despite those and other delays from wet weather, city of Denton Streets Superintendent Keith Gabbard says the massive $4.4 million project should be finished at the end of the year.
“We are ‘at schedule,’” Gabbard said Friday.
An Atmos gas main and city utilities are being upgraded before the streets department comes in to repave the entire length of Hickory from Bonnie Brae Street to Carroll Boulevard. The water department is ahead of schedule, Gabbard said, with a new line installed all the way from Bonnie Brae to Welch Street.
The sewer department has replaced two sections in the same segment. And the road has been repaved from Bonnie Brae to Avenue C, nearly halfway down the street as the 24-month project hits its own midpoint.
For a time, Atmos was far ahead of city crews in laying its new gas main and service lines along West Hickory Street, Gabbard said, but city crews caught up after the company focused on replacement projects in Dallas. A Dallas home blew up in February 2017 following a natural gas leak. The explosion killed a 12-year-old girl. Atmos shut off its system across the neighborhood for more than a month while crews replaced all the aging lines there.
City spokeswoman Jessica Rogers said Atmos is expected to complete its work from Avenue B to Welch by the end of February. The street department will work from April to August to repave from Avenue B to Welch. Crews will work on the section from Welch to Carroll Boulevard once the previous section is finished.
Utility and street crews also broke the work into additional, smaller phases to help lessen the impact on local businesses, Gabbard said.
“That’s a very busy area,” he added.
Kim McKibben, owner of Aura Coffee on Hickory near Fry Street, said she’s received minimal information about what is happening when. The project has made it difficult to get deliveries, and customers complain about the lack of parking.
“It’s absolutely affected the business,” McKibben said. “It has kept me awake at night.”
Curbs and sidewalks near the intersection with Welch Street need work and that was added to the job, Gabbard said. The city has one other Hickory Street makeover problem to solve: bike lanes.
A consultant is developing options for the section between Avenue B and Welch, Rogers said.
“We’ll have that information ready in the coming weeks,” Rogers said.
Gabbard expects crews will repave the section between Avenues B and C next week, weather permitting. That part of the job will cost about $229,000 and be paid from 2014 bond funds.
But motorists should know that the barricades likely will remain up in that section until the end of the February. UNT is making improvements to the sidewalks, landscape and roadway in the area, according to university spokeswoman Leigh Anne Gullett.
“They are anticipating they will be done by the end of February,” Gullett wrote in an email.
Residents and motorists can monitor construction progress on the city’s website at www.cityofdenton.com/residents.