published Friday, December 21st, 2012

Jasper OKs deal to relocate utilities

JASPER, Tenn. — Changes to the state's plan to connect state Highways 150 and 28 have necessitated the relocation of existing utilities in the area.

The Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted recently to approve an agreement for $21,148 in engineering services so water and sewer lines can be moved before the construction of a new interchange and road begins.

Gary Cosby, an engineer with CTI Engineers Inc., said the Tennessee Department of Transportation is going to "rearrange" the intersection where Highway 150 and U.S. Highway 41 meet, then continue until it connects with state Highway 28.

"When [TDOT] starts changing their roadway, they require us to get [utilities] out from under their new road," he said. "They do not want those lines under their new road. Unfortunately, that part of town already has water and sewer there, so it's got to be moved out of the way."

The estimated cost of moving the utilities is $200,000, officials said.

"That part will actually be included in the state's contract, so it's not one of these where [the town] has to rush and try to get everything out of the way," Cosby said. "The only thing [Jasper] is really responsible for is the engineering."

Mayor Paul Evans said the engineering costs must be paid by the city and will be reimbursed by the state. Cosby said any costs Jasper incurs will be reimbursable "as long as we meet the deadlines."

The next TDOT-mandated deadline is Jan. 9, when Cosby must submit plans and specifications for the utility relocation.

City Attorney Mark Raines said he has attended some meetings on the project, and initially the plans included a roundabout where Highways 150 and 41 intersect.

The "latest drawings" do not include a roundabout, Cosby said.

Instead, he said the Y-intersection that exists now will be changed into an "S-turn" so that Highway 150 will be perpendicular to U.S. 41 to make a "squared intersection."

Officials said the new road connecting everything to state Highway 28 will provide access to Marion County High School and Jasper Elementary School, but the transportation department will not complete the existing city road to that access point.

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