After much planning and preparation, updates to East Main Street and surrounding streets and sidewalks are slated for next month.
Assistant City Manager Kevin Boatright said the Streetscape Project should begin in mid-to-late January and be mostly completed by October 2018.
“I’m excited because we have literally been talking about this project now for over a year and a half,” Boatright said. “So now to see it happen, we’re really excited.”
Boatright said like all construction projects, that timeline is at the mercy of Mother Nature.
“As soon as I say that, we could get started, tear up the concrete and then it will rain for a week solid,” Boatright said. “And that’s my worst nightmare, because you can’t do anything about it.”
The project will involve repaving roads and sidewalks on East Main from Washington to D Street NE and another portion from Caddo Street up to 2nd Street, east and north of the Mercy Train’s new home in Depot Park. Additional downtown parking will be added as part of the project.
Boatright said the project was split into a Phase one and Phase two because the project will be partially funded by an Oklahoma Department of Transportation grant. Phase two should begin by late summer, and both phases should be completed around the same time. Phase one will cost the city roughly $4.3 million.
“There was some grant money we were able to receive from ODOT,” Boatright said. “To satisfy the requirements of the grant and also meet our timeline, we divided it.”
Phase one will include every part of the planned construction except part of D Street NE and the sidewalks that will surround Depot Park. Ardmore’s public utility department will start the project by working on water and sewer lines underground on Caddo, between Broadway and East Main.
 “A lot of that will go first because we need to dig up everything,” Boatright said. “That’s mainly that one block. That is really important because that area has a tendency, when we have any kind of significant rains, to start flooding.”
 That portion of East Main Street is currently a one-way, three-lane road. After construction, the street will be two-way with a grassy median.
“There’s still a few minor things to do but the main things are done, the contractor’s been chosen and approved, so we’re really close to getting ready to go,” Boatright said.
Different parts of the road may close at different times. Boatright said the plan is to close one side of the road at a time as construction progresses to allow traffic to continue moving through. Boatright said Caddo is likely to close also because of the utility department’s extensive work.
“Our plan is, especially on East Main, to make sure the whole road isn’t closed off,” Boatright said. “The only place that may have no traffic is on the section of Caddo between Broadway and East Main. It’s just so invasive, what they have to do.”
Boatright said they’re working with local business owners to let them know what to expect as construction continues, so road closures and torn up sidewalks aren’t a surprise.  
“We want them to be informed but at the same time we want to be honest and forthright not just with business owners, but with citizens who need to be able to get home and go to work,” Boatright said. “There may be times when one side of the road is completely blocked off due to construction.”