Downtown Parking Garage's Top Deck Now Open
Roof being installed now, structural repairs nearly complete
About 75 percent of the parking deck near the library and town hall is open after more than a month of closure for structural repairs.
Township Engineer Bob Chankalian said the project is now progressing without delay. The upper deck reopened this week, allowing visitors to again use the parking garage's level.
The upper deck had been closed since late April, when a roof was being installed and structural repairs were being completed.
The closure of the upper deck pushed visitors onto streetside parking, or in the county's parking deck off Hooper Avenue. The two-way traffic around the parking deck changed to one-lane traffic for a duration of the project.
The downtown farmers market held each Wednesday was moved to Irons and West Water Street from Huddy Park due to more ample parking there, but once the deck is complete the plans are to return the market back to its Huddy Park location.
When the project is over, the three-level parking garage will have had new steel girders installed, a fresh coat of paint, and most noticeably a roof where there once wasn't one.
Chankalian said the roof will prolong the life of the garage, but it also houses a solar panel system that is part of the township's green initiative but also hopes to cut down on utility costs.
The solar panels will be providing power to the municipal complex, and will be cutting down water, gas and electric bills for the township by over $100,000 a year, officials said.
The township received a federal grant of $902,000 to cover most of the costs of the project, including the $650,000 cost of the solar panels.
While the project included issues such as a delay in the steel fabrication and a slight delay due to rain in early June, Chankalian said the project is now progressing on schedule.
"We are progressing at a good pace, despite losing quite a few days due to rain. As you can image, you can’t set steel or weld in the rain," he said.
Now the bulk of the upper deck is open, except for the row farthest from the entrance to that level. Some construction materials are being housed there currently in those parking spots.
One of the last step is installing the solar panels, Chankalian said.
"The repairs to the deck are almost done. What remains is; completing the roof, railings, site restoration, ADA access upgrades and landscaping. Solar panels are expected to be installed in mid-July, and that will be the last step."