While Foothill and Mission boulevards may still look a mess, the massive road improvement project that has shredded the main artery through town is about halfway done, with an estimated completion date a little more than a year away.
Project manager Kevin Briggs said workers have completed nearly all of the underground utility work, which "is not the most visible part, but it does take a lot of time," and the next phases will be more noticeable.
"We'll be planting trees, removing overhead utility lines and completing construction of new streetlights," Briggs said. "People will start seeing the new streetlights turn on."
Briggs said that while this year has been dry, wet weather after the project broke ground in August 2010 has bumped the completion date from December of this year to spring 2013.
But many portions will be done much sooner, he said. The stretch along Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, for example, already has its medians and sidewalks, and the power for the new lights is set to go live next week. And greenery is being planted on the median between Tennyson Road and Industrial Parkway.
Construction hasn't been without its hiccups. On the stretch of Mission that's due to be completed first, florist Fred Perez has been waiting a year to get his parking spots back in front of his store. Most of his neighbors have theirs, but the roadway rises in front of Hayward Floral, making it higher than the sidewalk and creating a deep, coned-off divot between the two.
"I don't know what they're going to do to fix it," he said. "Why can't they just make the sidewalk the same level as the street, like it was before?"
Briggs said he is well aware of the problem, and the roadway will be dropped with Perez regaining his parking "hopefully by the end of July."
"We do our best to work with shop owners, and encourage people to contact us whenever they have a problem," he said.
Briggs said the project also was hindered in other areas because PG&E originally was going to do underground work with its own crews, but later decided to contract it out, stalling the process. "We can't widen the road until poles are removed from the travel lanes," Briggs said.
PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said it's a major project with "a lot of moving parts" and apologized for the delay.
"We are committed to getting it done as quickly as possible and continuing to collaborate with the city of Hayward," she said.
The $95 million project came about after a decades-old plan to build a freeway through the Hayward hills fell through.
County funds originally allocated for the Route 238 bypass were made available for the corridor improvements, designed to better facilitate regional traffic.
The project includes a "mini-loop" of one-way streets in the downtown area, something that stirred controversy when it was approved in 2007. The loop's estimated completion date is February or March of next year.
Ben Schweng, who owns the Cyclepath shop on Foothill that is currently at ground zero of deconstruction activities, said that while the immediate impact on his business is significant, the end result will be "a wash."
"The worst thing is losing the parking spaces on the other side of the street," he said. "But the upside is there will be more people driving by, and we'll get more exposure."
For more information about the project or to report a problem, visit www.hayward-ca.gov.