published Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Fort Oglethorpe: City works around road delays


by Beverly Carroll
Audio clip

Ron Goulart

A local contractor has agreed to work weekends to help Fort Oglethorpe avoid months of delay on a sewer project tied to the widening of Cloud Springs Road, officials said Wednesday.

The West Chickamauga Interceptor problem is on Cloud Springs Road where Mineral Avenue, Red Bud Drive and Lakeview Drive empty onto the main road.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is widening Cloud Springs Road, and Fort Oglethorpe is coming along behind the road crews to run sewer lines under the road in that section.

But a state official said changes to the road plan requested by the city have caused delays while Georgia tries to negotiate easements on private property.

Logically, the sewer lines should be put in after the state has completed its work, Fort Oglethorpe City Manager Ron Goulart said. But, “The state is still working on easements there, and we were probably looking at six months. We can’t wait that long.”

East Tennessee Grading, a subcontractor for the company that has the road widening contract, added the weekend work to the contract it has with the city, Mr. Goulart said.

The only added cost to the city will be the manpower for policing traffic on the weekends, he said.

“I have to take my hat off to East Tennessee,” Mr. Goulart said.

Residents will need to prepare for some more inconvenience.

“The road will be closed to one lane for probably five weekends,” Mr. Goulart said. “It’s going to be inconvenient, but it’s much better than trying to do it through the week.”

City officials cited concerns about the sewer project Monday when they learned design problems had resulted in a work stoppage on the Cloud Springs project.

Georgia DOT spokesman Mohamed Arafa insisted Wednesday there has never been a work stoppage ordered on the road project since work started in October 2007. He said the completion date was extended because of changes in the plans.

“The original plans called for closing Mineral Avenue. However, Catoosa County requested it not be closed,” Dr. Arafa said.

“They also requested that Red Bud Road and Lakeview Drive be aligned and a traffic light be installed,” he said. “That forced changes in the road design but, more importantly, it required the purchase of more right of way. That’s what the holdup is.”

The state is widening Cloud Springs in two phases, starting with 2.36 miles from Red Bud Road to Interstate 75, including reconstructing the bridge over West Chickamauga Creek.

The second phase includes reworking the interstate overpasses and widening Cloud Springs east of the interstate to U.S. Highway 41.

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