published Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Bradley County leaders agree on plan for overruns

  • photo
    Bradley County Commissioner Ed Elkins
    Photo by Gillian Bolsover

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County leaders have agreed to a plan by Cleveland officials to offset $784,000 in cost overages associated with connecting Harriman Road with APD-40, near exit 20 on Interstate 75.

The County Commission's finance committee voted 3-1 on Tuesday to approve a measure that calls for shifting money from a related road connection project on the northern side of APD-40 to the Harriman Road work. Commissioner Ed Elkins, chairman of the committee, cast the opposing vote.

The funds shift should create a workable solution, since the northern connector project is expected to come in under budget, Cleveland City Manager Janice Casteel said. The money transfer should not require any additional financial commitment, she said.

The two Tennessee Department of Transportation projects were budgeted at $4 million apiece. Cleveland and Bradley County each agreed to contribute 25 percent, and the state is contributing 50 percent.

The Harriman Road overages were caused mainly by $434,000 in erosion control overruns and $347,000 in change orders to reduce the road's grade, said Sandra Knight, engineer for Bradley County.

The change to the road grade was made to make it easier on commercial transports that will use the road to access a proposed industrial park nearby, city officials said.

Rain and corrective work on check dams and other runoff controls were part of a "perfect storm of all sorts of delays," said Jonathan Jobe, director of Cleveland's Engineering and Development Department. The Harriman Road work was envisioned as a three-month project and was supposed to be finished last October, officials said.

Elkins called the project "a travesty," and said he cast his "no" vote to send a message about his disappointment over erosion control problems that have been cited as a contributing factor to muddying Brymer Creek.

"Somebody didn't do their job, I think," he said. "It's pretty obvious and will hit you right between the eyes when you go down that road."

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued a notice of violation on July 17 after a July 8 inspection found that a number of reported deficiencies in erosion control measures were not completely corrected after a June 6 inspection.

Cleveland was given until late July to resolve the cited problems but granted an extension until mid-August.

Jobe said TDEC personnel are reviewing proposed improvements to the site's erosion control measures.

The muddy runoff into Spring Branch and Brymer Creek is not isolated to the Harriman Road project, Knight said.

He said the other source of erosion problems originates on the western side of Interstate 75. The area falls outside the county's storm water district and is under review by TDEC.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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