Wells Street median construction begins April 15

  • Construction on the Wells Street median is scheduled to begin April 15.
  • The actual structure should by finished by May 14, and landscaping should be done by May 29.
  • The city will begin soliciting bids from contractors in about two weeks.
  • The median will feature trees and plants surrounded by a railing.

Construction of a Wells Street median is now projected to begin around April 15, according to the university and the Milwaukee Department of Public Works.

The city will solicit bids from contractors in The Daily Reporter newspaper within the next two weeks and will accept bids for another two weeks, said Ghassan Korban, coordination manager of the Department of Public Works. It also will have an ad on the DPW Web site.

Korban will oversee construction of the median.

After bids are received, the city will select a contractor and construction should begin about 10 days later, provided all the appropriate paperwork is filed, Korban said.

The physical median is scheduled for completion by May 14, and landscaping should be finished two weeks after that, he said.

The total cost is about $175,000 and Marquette will pay about $75,000, Korban said.

He was optimistic about the construction following the projected timeline, describing the dates as "very do-able," although he granted that "nothing is 100 percent certain."

"There are some things we can't control," Korban said. "If everything goes as planned, the dates are certain."

Much of the feasibility of the timeline depends on the nature of the bids the city receives.

"If bids come in so high (that) we can't afford it, everything is set back," Korban said.

Marquette Student Government President Ray Redlingshafer, a senior in the College of Business Administration, met with city officials Feb. 25 where the final details, such as timeline and costs, were hammered out, he said.

University architect Tom Ganey said the Wells Street median will not be the same as the one on Wisconsin Avenue.

While Wisconsin Avenue's median features a concrete wall surrounding the plants, the Wells Street median will only have a railing around the landscaping, Ganey said.

He said the city did most of the design work, but the university was still consulted about the median.

The city will take care of the actual landscaping and the university will put in the irrigation system and maintain the plants, Ganey said.

Redlingshafer said MUSG tried to ensure that all the plants in the median were native. But logistics, including safety concerns about tree branches falling in the road, meant some plants, including the trees, ended up being non-native.

Korban and others associated with the project will address the MUSG Senate April 2 with full details of the project, Redlingshafer said.

The median, which the university hopes will make crossing Wells Street safer for pedestrians, has been an MUSG project since last fall. Construction was originally supposed to begin last December, but poor weather conditions and adjustments to the median's design delayed the project.

Ganey said students should be given significant credit for pushing for the median project.

"This is a student project first and foremost," Ganey said.

Redlingshafer is pleased that the median will finally become a reality, even though his term as MUSG president will expire on April 1, before construction begins.

"It took a lot of different groups of people to do this," Redlingshafer said. "It shows that there are long-term MUSG projects that can be successful."