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Project delayed, businesses delighted

Business owners in Coupeville bracing for an expected five-month construction project that would have closed a large portion of North Main Street got a reprieve this week.

Town officials delayed the project until next spring as they learned more about the scope of the project to replace North Main Street from Third Street to Front Street and install a new stormwater outfall.

For the project to be completed, North Main Street and a portion of Front Street would have to be closed during the busy summer months. Officials felt that would have been difficult for the community and decided to split the project.

“We thought it would be better to break it into two projects and not impact the community as hard,” said Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard.

The project was originally planned to begin in June and take five months to complete. Several business owners in the area felt closing Main Street during the summer would hurt business.

Folks will still see construction later this year in downtown Coupeville. Beginning after Labor Day, the town will close Front Street to allow installation of a new outfall and “energy dissipator.” Construction workers will also replace the deck and stairway leading down to the water.

Coupeville Planner Larry Kwarsick said during the Tuesday evening Town Council meeting that the dissipator will help protect nearby shoreline from being washed away.

During the estimated four-week construction project, Front Street from Main Street to Grace Street will be closed during the day.

Conard said pedestrians can still access the businesses affected by the closure and Front Street will remain open evenings and weekends.

She didn’t have a specific date that the project will begin. That will be decided later in the summer.

In December, the town is expected to call for bids for the North Main Street project. Weather permitting, construction is expected to begin in early March and take five months to complete, leaving part of the summer unobstructed for business owners.

As construction nears, the town will produce a plan for detours and then inform affected businesses.

For one Coupeville business, the delay comes as welcome news.

“I couldn’t be happier,” said LuAnne Origer, owner of Anna’s Tea Room on North Main Street. “I feel like we’ve got a second chance to see what business is like in a normal year.”

She said having the planned construction time beginning in March of next year is a better time because spring is normally a bit slower.

The project is expected to cost approximately, $800,000, $600,000 of that coming from a federal grant.

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