Hamilton County spends $500,000 more on W Road repairs

Hamilton County spends $500,000 more on W Road repairs

May 10th, 2013 by Louie Brogdon in Local Regional News

The W Road on Signal Mountain is closed for work.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

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Commission action

In other business, commissioners:

• Agreed to consider signing a $184,000 contract with the Tennessee Department of Transportation for community services programs to collect trash on county rights of way and state highways.

• Agreed to allow the Sale Creek Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department to sell a 29-year-old firetruck.

• Agreed to consider reappointing William Pippin to a three-year term to the Sheriff's Civil Service Advisory Board.

Signal Mountain's W Road will cost taxpayers an additional $500,000 after commissioners voted Thursday to release a new round of cash for emergency repairs to the 120-year-old road.

That brings the historic trail's repair bill in recent months to just under $1.3 million.

Early last month, commissioners released $776,000 to repair two spans of road that had shown signs of extreme cracking and later washed out. Engineers then said the cracking had been caused because large voids had formed in the soil beneath the road. They could not say what caused the voids, but other areas of the former wagon trail were stable.

Commissioners voted Thursday to release additional money to fix a new section of the road recently washed out by heavy rains.

Hamilton County Public Works Administrator Todd Leamon said the damage to the new portion was similar to damage at the previous areas, but he said the new damage would not add any time to the repairs.

The road has been closed since April and will remain closed for another eight to 10 weeks, Leamon said.

Later, during an agenda session held immediately after the recessed meeting, commissioners discussed continuing to contract with the state for its vehicle emissions testing program. If adopted, the resolution would reduce the test fee to Hamilton County taxpayers to $9 from $10, and the county clerk's office would receive $1 per test instead of 25 cents.

Commissioners mostly lauded the savings, but Greg Beck said he would not support the emission testing program. Beck said the program is the "worst thing that ever happened to poor people in Hamilton County."

In another item, commissioners discussed accepting a $500,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to buy property for the next phase of the Tennessee Riverpark. The proposed purchases would extend the Riverwalk from Ross's Landing to St. Elmo Avenue. A $250,000 private donation was used to match the grant for the county.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at 423-757-6481 or lbrogdon@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @glbrogdoniv.