published Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Cleveland City Council OKs funds shift for road cost

Janice Casteel
Janice Casteel
Photo by Randall Higgins /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The Cleveland City Council approved a measure Monday that is expected to offset $784,000 in overages on a Tennessee Department of Transportation project to connect Harriman Road with APD 40, near exit 20 on Interstate 75.

The plan, which calls for shifting funds from a related connector project on the north side of APD 40, was approved in a 5-to-1 vote, with Councilman David May opposing and Councilman Richard Banks passing. Work on the project, which includes $180,000 in erosion control improvements, has been halted pending council approval.

"We're under the gun to get [the erosion control improvements] started and finished, and you have to do it first before you can pave the road," City Manager Janice Casteel said.

"This project worries me," Banks said.

The council's approval is contingent on approval from the state and Bradley County. The county Finance Committee voted 3-1 for the funding shift; the matter will come before the full County Commission for a vote Sept. 3.

TDOT issued a letter on Aug 23 stating its approval of the project funding amendment.

Casteel said shifting the money is a workable solution, because the northern connector project is expected to come in under budget.

The two connector projects originally were budgeted at $4 million apiece, with the state contributing 50 percent of the funding and Cleveland and Bradley County each contributing 25 percent. The new arrangement would amount to $4.8 million for Harriman Road and $3.2 million for the northern connector.

Most of the Harriman Road overages were caused by $434,000 in erosion control overruns and $347,000 in change orders to reduce the road's grade from 8 percent to 6 percent, said Sandra Knight, engineer for Bradley County, in a recent meeting with the Bradley County Finance Committee.

Reducing the road grade was done to make it easier for commercial transport to access a planned industrial park nearby, city officials said.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation recently notified Cleveland that it has 45 days to ensure the implementation of a new stormwater pollution plan that is supposed to provide improved erosion control measures on the Harriman Road site.

Steve Williams Construction, which is handling the project, said it will take 60 days to complete the required erosion controls, Casteel told the City Council.

The city received a notice of violation from TDEC on July 17 after a July 8 inspection found that a number of cited deficiencies in storm water control measures were not completely corrected after a June 6 inspection.

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

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