It will still be a few weeks before workers are finished on the sewer project at Seventh and Joplin streets, though workers have already begun to see the benefit.

It will still be a few weeks before workers are finished on the sewer project at Seventh and Joplin streets, though workers have already begun to see the benefit.

"When we've had rain, you could already see the difference," said Ronnie Williams, project engineer with Burns and McDonnell. "And that's without the street and some other parts of the project. But we haven't had the flooding problems at Seventh and Joplin."

Ironically, the project to reduce the amount of water in the intersection when it rains has seen its fair share of rainfall. LaForge and Budd have taken 33 weather days through the process, though with quick working and the addition of subcontractors like Sprouls Construction, they're still within two weeks of the original timeline.

"Since Feb. 25, we've averaged about a quarter-inch of rain per working day," Williams said. "When you're talking about losing almost seven weeks of working days, those are some pretty considerable delays.

"Other than the delays, it's been a pretty easy project, pretty smooth," Williams said.

Sprouls Construction, the company working on the Downtown Streetscape project, was brought in to help with curb and gutter work. The help has allowed LaForge and Budd to close on the end of the project — Joplin Street should be open in about 10 days, with the full project scheduled for completion by the start of September.

To that end, workers began laying the asphalt down Joplin Street from Eighth Street to Sixth Street Friday. It was a hot job — the asphalt comes out at about 350 degrees, while the afternoon temperature reached the mid 90s.

Bill Beasley, Pittsburg director of public works, said the city wouldn't have been able to complete the project, or a future one planned at Joplin and Hudson streets, without the Storm Water Utility, an increase on Pittsburg residents' water bill earmarked for major storm water improvement projects.

He said Pittsburg residents should notice the improvements almost immediately after completion.

"For one thing, it should remove the standing water at Seventh and Joplin," Beasley said. "And then, when you add in the new street and the curbs and gutters, there are pretty significant improvements. We never would have been able to do anything this size without the utility. It will be better for the whole neighborhood."

Kevin Flaherty can be reached at kevin.flaherty@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 134.