JASPER, Tenn. - The sewer line extension route along U.S. Highway 41 to the Shellmound Business Park has changed again.
The original path of the line was changed several times to accommodate the concerns of city leaders and business owners, but the latest adjustment comes at the request of the project's contractor, Green Brothers Construction of Crossville, Tenn.
"[The contractor] has had some misgivings and understandably so," Gary Cosby, an engineer with CTI Engineers Inc., told Jasper leaders last week. "Various communications cables meander all along the north side of the highway, and it's going to make it difficult."
Cosby said officials examined two possible solutions to avoid the other utilities in the area.
One would "cut cross-country" and nearly double the length of the line, causing a significant cost increase, he said.
The other would veer off Highway 41 by about 200 feet and appears to be much more feasible, officials said.
The Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously to approve the second alternative route.
Mayor Paul Evans said if communications cables were damaged during construction, the city would have dealt with "major change orders."
"We'd be looking at something that's not in the budget," he said. "I've walked this [route] through the woods with [CTI's] engineers, and in my opinion, we're better to go that route."
Cosby said the new path will require securing an easement from a private landowner, some new engineering surveys, and re-submitting plans to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for approval.
"Looking at the construction costs, even with this change, I think we're looking at a very slight credit back in savings and cost," he said. "It won't be much. It's close to a wash."
The additional engineering could cost up to $7,000, Cosby said, but he expects the actual price for the work to be less than that.
Officials said the potential savings will amount to an $800 difference on the project.
"To me, the worry is not there," Evans said. "There's nothing there. We can go through, and not have to worry about the change orders coming."
"It does eliminate the concerns with cables and all that on the north side of the highway," Cosby said. "That is a positive benefit to it."
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.