MARINETTE - Within the course of just 11 minutes, members of the Marinette City Council Thursday literally helped pave the way to a multi-million dollar road reconstruction project for Marinette Marine.

The council met in special session and the vote was unanimous in favor of the project.

"The primary focus on this project is to enhance the traffic flow for Marinette Marine's employees," said City Engineer Brian Miller. "Along with that comes material and shipments in and out of their facilities. The roadway will be designed to accommodate the large trucks and the large loads Marinette Marine receives."

The Main and Stanton streets upgrades and reconstruction portion of the project will cost just over $4.5 million, with about $2.27 million coming from the just-approved Financial Assistance Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration.

The city has received three grants to assist with improvements of streets and infrastructure in and around Marinette Marine. A Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $506,000; a T-Grant from the state of Wisconsin for the reconstruction of Mann Street and Ely Street, and the one announced Thursday which will help pay for construction of Main Street from Wells Street to Shore Drive; and to reconstruct Stanton Street from Main Street north to the railroad tracks.

Ayres Associates of De Pere, Wis., will be the consulting firm responsible for all the engineering work on the project.

"Ayres will have on-site representatives inspecting the work of the contractor," said Miller. "Full-time inspection services will be provided by Ayres. They will also be administering the grants and providing the grating agencies all the necessary paperwork to fulfill the agency requirements."

MIller said he will be working with the consultants on outlining a construction schedule but he anticipates the Main and Stanton streets projects will commence sometime in July with construction continuing through November.

"We'll be preparing detour routes and signage plans and then obviously we'll be meeting with the businesses along the project corridor and having a lot of input from the community and sending out a lot of messages and updates as the project continues," he said.

Rescue, police and fire officials have all been made aware of the changes to come.

"As a matter of fact, the fire department is right in the project corridor, and we've assured them they'll have continued access to the roadway through the duration of the contract," said Miller.

The first step will be to prepare the plans and specifications, have the various agencies involved approve the plans and specs and then bid out the work. Miller said it's possible a local contractor could be the general contractor for the project.