Piles of dirt stretched high above while traffic cones filled Lawrence Road below. Now after more than 6 months of work, the dirt and traffic cones have been replaced by smooth black asphalt and shiny new traffic lights.
Crews have been working around the clock all Spring and Summer to complete the Rhea Road Realignment project. The primary goal was to go from two lights, to one, lining up Rhea and Lawrence roads, and have it done by the hectic shopping season.
Project Manager Blane Boswell said, "We put a completion date on the first to middle of October, that way we had some leeway with the Black Friday Shopping."
The project was also completed on time and about $10,000 under budget. Boswell said it all came down to planning. "It all comes down to, at the very front end, having a good clear plan set, nailing down our quantities to a good estimating amount and then just keeping a good eye on the project as it goes along. In he grand scheme of things $10,000 under on a $1.25 million project isn't a lot, but every little bit goes back into the general fund somewhere."
A byproduct of the construction is 2 new plots of land that will now be auctioned off. Boswell said engineers had a decision to make when they realized they'd have the new land: they could leave it for the city to maintain, or spend the money up front to tap into utility lines nearby.
Boswell said, "We did a cost analysis and got some estimates from utility companies for how much it would cost to relocate utilities versus how much it would cost to maintain this plot of land for the next 30, 40, 50 years. The estimates did show that going ahead and putting the cost up front to relocate the utilities would pay off in the end for the city."
The property administration is handling the auction of both properties.