Colby Street is the city of Whitehall’s main thoroughfare. It connects Whitehall’s downtown with US-31 to the east and with the City of Montague to the west. In 2017, MDOT rebuilt 1.2 miles of Colby Street, from the White River bridge connecting Whitehall and Montague to Hall Street west of downtown Whitehall.
The City of Whitehall, its Downtown Development Authority, and various stakeholders had been planning to improve the downtown area. At the same time MDOT was rebuilding Colby Street, Whitehall built new sidewalks, lighting, seating, furniture and other streetscape features along Colby Street in a separate construction contract. The road work included improvements to its water distribution system and better storm drainage on Colby Street.
Colby Street was closed to all traffic during construction between Covell and Hanson Streets in downtown Whitehall. While construction affected business owners in spring and summer, Colby Street’s full closure enabled the two prime contractors to complete all of the work in less than three months.
Whitehall accommodated downtown businesses using yard signs directing motorists to rear entrances and parking areas.
The project began in early April 2017 and finished right after July 4. Whitehall wanted to open Colby Street before the July 4th weekend as they host a large downtown parade. They met their goal as Colby Street opened on the morning of June 29th. Afterward, MDOT set up lane shifts on July 6th and 7th to rotomill and resurface Colby Street and Thompson Street to finish the project.
The final design, bidding and construction was on a tight and coordinated schedule to finish work before the summer tourist season. This was two projects: the MDOT portion had a different engineering consultant and contractor than the downtown streetscape project. It took extraordinary coordination among two consultants and two contractors, working in the same space for two different owners.