Hitting the gas: Vandora sidewalk finally gaining speed

kjahner@newsobserver.comApril 4, 2014 

— Cars flowing from U.S. 70 south down Vandora Springs Road funnel through tightly placed orange construction barrels and shift lanes as backhoes dig trenches along the street. All to work on a sidewalk scheduled to have been finished months ago.

Elements from gas to ice have pushed the current Vandora Springs Road sidewalk project’s expected completion date to May, four months after its expected completion date.

“The location service marked the (gas and water utilities) backward,” said Don Gant of Wooten Company, the engineering firm orchestrating the construction. “We had to wait for the gas company to relocate their lines. That coupled with the weather really threw the project for a loop.”

But traffic inconveniences should abate soon. And with the storm drain mostly completed, the work – stretching about 600 feet from Foxwood Drive to Beichler Road -- is expected to be swift.

“Once you see the curb and gutter go in, it should proceed pretty quickly after that with the installation of the sidewalk,” Chalk said.

Curb and gutter work should be completed this week, with lane shifts ending next week.

The biggest problem was the late discovery of a four-inch gas line where a water line was supposed to be. Gas lines are more difficult to move than water lines, so Wooten and the construction company it contracted, Narron Contracting, had to wait until the gas company could move the line.

The first meeting at the site about the Vandora Springs gas line was before Christmas, but intermittent winter weather and the gas company’s schedule didn’t result in the line moving until weeks ago.

“We’re really at their mercy,” Gant said.

With the line moved and the winter weather hopefully in the rear-view mirror, Gant said the project has a targeted completion date of May 10, though it could be later.

Gant said that outside of the delays, the broader project connecting Garner High School to Vandora Springs Road via Forrest Ridge Road and Foxwood Drive has not had problems.

“The rest of the project went very well,” Gant said. “The other part of the project looks really good, and we expect the Vandora Springs part of the project to turn out really well also.”

The Vandora Springs work, which will cost $72,500, was fully-funded by the town. Wooten Company is overseeing the broader project, of which Federal community development block grant money funds 80 percent with the town picking up the rest. The town decided to pick up the tab on the Vandora Springs section to connect Sunset Acre subdivision to the sidewalk. The total project cost is $228,000.

Gant said the delays will not affect the projects cost to the funding government entities.

Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland

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