Cleveland, Tenn., delays vote on road project changes

Cleveland, Tenn., delays vote on road project changes

August 13th, 2013 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

Janice Casteel

Photo by Randall Higgins/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Cleveland leaders say they want Bradley County on board for requested changes related to a Tennessee Department of Transportation project to connect Harriman Road to APD-40.

On Monday, the Cleveland City Council agreed to table a vote regarding approval of changes to the project that have been estimated to boost its cost up to $740,000 over its $4 million budget. The $4 million budget has been allocated $2 million from the state and a $2 million local government match, which is split between Cleveland and Bradley County.

Overages associated with the Harriman Road connection to APD-40, also known as Local Interstate Connector South, are expected to be offset by lower costs for its counterpart on the other side of APD-40, said City Manager Janice Casteel.

However, city leaders want a commitment from county officials that they also would be willing to shift funding to the LIC South project.

"What I would hate is for the County Commission to say they never approved any of this," said Councilman Bill Estes.

About $400,000 of the overrun was related to a change order to decrease the slope of Harriman Road, which would reduce the strain and fuel consumption on commercial traffic that would use the road to access a planned industrial park, said Jonathan Jobe, director for Engineering and Development for Cleveland.

The delayed vote by the City Council will prompt the city to request another extension to resolving erosion control problems cited in a July 17 notice of violation issued by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said Jobe. In a worst case scenario, it may take up to $180,000 in corrective ditch work.

TDEC had agreed to extend a late July deadline to Aug. 16 to give the city time to bring the necessary change orders before the Cleveland City Council, according to Shannon Ashford, a spokeswoman for the agency.

If corrective work is not approved and completed in time, TDEC may issue fines ranging from a flat $2,500 up to $2,500 per day, said Jobe.

Runoff from the site has been associated with muddy pollution flowing from nearby Spring Branch into near-pristine Brymer Creek. However, officials stated that the Harriman Road project is not the only sole source of runoff into the creek.

A 24-inch pipe runs under Interstate 75 and the work site and has contributed to the problem, said Jobe.

Bradley County is working with TDEC to address the situation, said Sandra Knight, engineer for the county. The area falls outside of the county's storm water district and falls under state jurisdiction, she said.

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