October 14, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

Cove Avenue is open again.

Its totally open, said La Grande engineering superintendent Norm Paullus of the project that started in July. A one-block section opened about a week ago.

Done in concrete, the reconstruction should last 40 years, city officials said.

A little more work along the edges of the street, including some driveway work, landscaping and cleanup remain to be done, he said.

Most of the sidewalks are in and most of the driveway recasting is done. The contractor has until Oct. 31 to finish all that, Paullus said.

The Cove Avenue reconstruction from Portland Avenue to near the Interstate 84 overpass was part of a $1.3 million project. The project included paving 1,000 lineal feet of Albany Street from Cove to Island Avenue.

The Cove Avenue segment included reconstruction and widening involving 1,700 lineal feet of roadway, adding westbound right turn lanes at Portland and Albany, adding bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the street and planting trees and doing other landscaping.

The citys share of the project, which comes from the $8 monthly fee residents pay, is about $234,000, Paullus said. About $900,000 is federal money.

Cove Avenue was torn up for some time, making driving hazardous over the potholes, as city and utility companies put in utilities underground in preparation for the main part of the project. The major aspect of the project didnt begin until about mid-July.

Don Hampton Inc., doing business as Rogers Asphalt, did the Albany Street asphalt project. Mike Becker Construction was the contractor on the Cove Avenue project.

The city has spent about $1 million a year for the last 12 years on street maintenance and repairs. It was $1,216,024 in 2000.