EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – With more than 10 inches of snowfall this weekend and temperatures in the low 20’s, the abnormal weather is bringing the area an extended winter and impacting road construction projects.
Construction season typically begins in April but with this past weekend's weather being the second significant snow fall of the month, bringing a total of 11.5 inches of snow, the city says it’s looking forward to construction season being able to start.
From the west side to downtown, major construction projects in the city of Eau Claire were put on hold Monday, as city officials are calling the mid-April snowfall unexpected. "We didn't anticipate it. Usually we're getting started with construction. Our early projects start in April and we get into our full force in May and June," said David Solberg, Engineering Director for the City of Eau Claire.
Despite the snow on the ground, Solberg says construction won't be delayed for long. "Regardless of what season Mother Nature says it is, we are in construction season so our contractors are regrouping today and they're going to be at it and putting utilities in and working on our street projects as early as tomorrow morning,” said Solberg.
The Wisconsin Department of transportation says the snow has had a slight impact on some of their road construction projects. “We have some larger projects, more to the west here of Eau Claire and so its slowed down construction or we've delayed start," says Tara Weiss, Project Development Supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
The D.O.T says snow has slowed interstate construction, west of Menomonie, bridge replacements east of Eau Claire, and projects near Hudson. The snow also raised another concern.
"Now we look for what happens with spring flooding …we're looking at how quickly the frost comes out of the ground…especially when we're looking at moving dirt," says Weiss.
Flooding is also a concern for city officials in Eau Claire. "We're just looking forward to having the snow melt and we're watching the river to make sure that the water levels don't get out of hand and effect any construction and if they do, we'll adjust accordingly," said Solberg.