Hunterdale Road project behind schedule

Published 10:08 am Friday, August 1, 2014

FRANKLIN—There was good news and bad news regarding VDOT’s Hunterdale Road project.

The good news was that the project, which is mostly using Virginia Department of Transportation money, is projected to come in under budget. The bad news, well, it might not be done by Nov. 14, which is when the project is scheduled to be completed.

Paul Moose, a VDOT engineer, said that the roadwork is tracking to be slightly behind schedule due to utility conflicts.

Curtis Construction, the contractor, is planning to hire another crew specifically for utility work to help move the work’s completion back closer to that November date.

At Monday’s Franklin City Council meeting, Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn wanted to know if there was a way to accelerate the project’s completion, as people who live in Hunterdale and Franklin alike are ready to be done with the detours.

Moose, however, said that wasn’t likely, as accelerating the completion will create additional costs. He said that projects of this scope typically do take as long as this one is taking.

Utility trouble also slowed down the project, as the contractor ran into leaks on water and sewer lines.

Ward 1’s Barry Cheatham and Ward 2’s Benny Burgess also said that better communication on the front end would have been preferable.

“I think we had a round about date, but nobody knew exactly when it would start,” Cheatham said. “My wife went out on that road one morning, and came back, and it was closed.”

Moose said that they updated council in a meeting back in March, and that they also updated the website to show the construction. As far as the round about date, he said VDOT gives the contractor a notice to proceed date, and the contractor has 10-12 days to be on site working. Work on the project began on April 29.

Moose did add that VDOT would try to do a better job of informing in the future.

The project costs a total of $1.9 million, and of that, Franklin is paying $16,000. Additionally, Franklin is adding approximately $280,000 for water and sewer improvements.

The road improvements will widen the road 10 feet. Each lane will be widened 1-foot, and 4-foot wide multi-purpose paths will also be created alongside the road. The project will stretch from Clay Street to the railroad crossing.

The water and sewer improvements will place additional connections and also upgrade the mains from 6- to 10-inch pipe.