published Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

LaFayette pothole set for repair

by Andy Johns
  • photo
    Staff Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press Orange barricades surround a problem in the pavement in the 600 block of South Main Street in LaFayette that appeared last fall within weeks of a repaving job on the highway. The project was paid for with federal stimulus funds distributed through the state, and now the contractor, federal, state and local officials are at odds over who should fix it.

LAFAYETTE, Ga. -- Just a few weeks after $687,000 in federal stimulus money paid to pave a stretch of road in LaFayette, a utility line failure under the road caused a blister of asphalt to swell and burst.

Six months later, the scar remains, marked by traffic cones and blocking traffic on South Main Street.

Vanessa Gilliam, LaFayette's public works supervisor, said she's heard from plenty of residents about the 10-foot gash in the road, but there's nothing she can do about it.

"They all want to know when it's going to be fixed," she said.

Since the trouble spot lies on U.S. Highway 27 and Georgia Highway 1, the state Department of Transportation is in control, she said.

GDOT spokesman Mohamed Arafa said the road is believed to have been damaged shortly after the asphalt was laid in September. The contractor, Northwest Georgia Paving, has until the project's completion date of April 30 to repair the damage, he said.

Donnie Gay, vice president at Northwest Georgia Paving, said the company has been waiting for better weather because cold or rainy weather impedes laying asphalt.


Paving start date: Sept. 8

Hole appeared: October

Hole must be fixed by: April 30

Total cost of repaving Main Street: $687,392

Distance: More than three miles

Funding: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Source: Georgia DOT

"We've been waiting on a couple of things, and one is warmer weather," Mr. Gay said. "The warmer the better."

He theorized that a leaking line underneath the road probably caused the pavement to bubble up, and he was told a fire truck hit the bubble, causing it to burst and sink.

He said the work could be completed in one day, but it probably would cost around $10,000.

Neither Mr. Gay nor Ms. Gilliam were sure when and if the city would be involved in repairing any faulty lines below.

"DOT and Northwest Georgia Paving are in control," she said.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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