Tennessee Street utility work preparation for repaving
by Jason Lowrey
Nov 14, 2013 | 1526 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Construction continues on South Tennessee Street near AutoZone. Cartersville Water Department has been working to relocate or replace water lines prior to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s repaving of Tennessee Street. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Construction continues on South Tennessee Street near AutoZone. Cartersville Water Department has been working to relocate or replace water lines prior to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s repaving of Tennessee Street. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Any motorist who has driven down Tennessee Street in the past two weeks has certainly noticed the lane closings, steel plates and construction equipment on the side of the road. The work is an effort by the Cartersville Water Department to relocate or replace water lines before the Georgia Department of Transportation repaves Tennessee Street.

Engineering on the $2.9 million project was approved October 2012. A little more than a year later, the water department and its contractor, Site Engineering, began working.

“Actually we had hoped to give him a notice to proceed Oct. 1 and we were delayed two weeks with easement acquisition issues,” said Assistant Water Department Director Ed Mullinax. “So I believe his notice to proceed was Oct. 14, and that’s when he was told he could get started. I think they had a week of time getting everything squared away with DOT. So they’ve not really been at it that long.

“... We had hoped to have the work complete on Tennessee Street by Nov. 30. That was the deadline DOT gave us. Obviously getting a late start, we will not be making that. But we’ll finish close enough that we’re not going to impede [the project]. The DOT has a planned milling and resurfacing project for Tennessee Street and we plan to be done well ahead of that.”

Assistant City Manager Dan Porta said the utility project had been on the book for at least a couple of years. When GDOT said it had plans to repave the street, Cartersville asked for a delay so it could perform the needed repairs and relocations without damaging the new pavement.

“The contractor’s doing a good job. He’s obviously trying to keep the roadways as clear as possible and maintaining access to the businesses,” said Porta. “... Improvement takes time, and it takes a little pain in the short term with the road closure, but everything seems to be moving along fairly well.”

Porta said he was not aware of any complaints business owners or motorists have lodged with the city. Mullinax said the water department had heard, and handled, a few complaints.

“The main thing is we haven’t had many complaints from the business owners. For the most part the vast majority of them have been happy enough with the work. We try to coordinate with them to maintain access to the business. You’re always going to have some complaints, but we’ve dealt with those. For the most part, though, the property owners, the businesses have been agreeable with the work going on,” Mullinax said.

The construction, running from Opal Street to Leake Street, is working to relocate water lines from the middle of the road to underneath the sidewalks. Mullinax said some of the water lines could be up to 80 years old and are in need of replacement. In addition to moving the lines to where they are more accessible, the water department is installing larger water mains to provide adequate fire protection. A few fire hydrants on Tennessee Street do not work now, Mullinax added, and the new 36-inch line near Opal Street, 16-inch line near Leake Street and the continuous 12-inch main between the two lines will help solve the problem.

“One of the things we have to do as part of this project is go in and kill all the old lines, and those lines have to be pumped full of grout. So when they get the new lines in, get them tested, disinfected, put into service, get the people tied over on to the new lines, they have to go in and kill the old lines,” Mullinax said. “They could cut the street so they can get down and pump grout into the old lines. We’ll start seeing some work going on in the middle of the streets there.”

Mullinax said his department and the contractor were trying to do the work at odd times to keep traffic disruptions to a minimum.

“We appreciate the patience of the public while the work is going on. It’s just one of those things that does offer a little inconvenience, but it’s unavoidable. We’ve tried to keep it to a minimum,” he said.

Porta believed the paving project could begin shortly after the beginning of next year.

“It’s going fairly well, and obviously we’re grateful GDOT kind of held off on the paving so we could have a nice new road once everything’s said and done,” he said.