published Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Jasper board OKs engineering deal for highway work

JASPER, Tenn. — Changes to the plan to connect state highways 150 and 28 have necessitated an updated engineering agreement on the project for the city.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation's plan to unite the two highways has changed several times over the past two years, but officials believe the details are almost finalized.

The project will rearrange the intersection where Highway 150, Betsy Pack Drive and Valley View Highway meet. It then will extend Highway 150 to connect with state Highway 28 on the other side of Jasper.

Greg Scotchie, an engineer with CTI Engineers Inc. in Chattanooga, said TDOT has changed a proposed cross-section along Betsy Pack Drive.

"That's going to require an existing waterline to be moved," he said. "That was a big change to the cost estimate in the bid package."

The city is responsible for the project's engineering, so the Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously recently to approve an altered engineering agreement that will increase its costs, too.

"The reasoning for this is that just in the last six months they've made two revisions of those plans, which resulted in having to get new easements," Mayor Paul Evans said.

The change will require Jasper to pay an extra $9,500 in engineering fees.

"It takes the total price [for Jasper] from $21,148 to $30,648," Evans said.

The money the city spends will be fully reimbursable from TDOT, he said.

Any costs Jasper incurs on the project will be refunded as long as it meets required engineering deadlines, officials said.

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

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryan lewis34@gmail.com.

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