Projects continue as tomorrow’s Garner built

kjahner@newsobserver.comApril 25, 2014 

— – It may technically always be true, but Monday’s council meeting provided a reminder that it’s as true as ever: tomorrow’s Garner is being planned and built today.

Tuesday Town Council received updates on a variety of projects in various stages, including substantial bond-funded additions that could see construction begin early this summer.

The upgrades to U.S. 70 in the White Oak area (funded before the bond) have slowed down due to rain, though the delays are not regarded as serious. Meanwhile, the $4 million police station could be put out for bids early next week, with construction starting in June.

The council also approved a resolution that allows the town to acquire temporary easements for the Claymore Drive and Buckingham Road sidewalk. That bond project could see construction start in late May. Meanwhile, other bond sidewalk projects have experienced delays, mainly outside of the towns control.

Recent rain has slowed the revamp of the confluence of U.S. 70, White Oak Road and I-40, crucial to coming development at White Oak Crossing. The Department of Transportation, rightfully according to town engineer Tony Chalk, worries about erosion if pavement is laid on wet ground.

“I’m not too concerned. I think they’re going to be able to get caught back up,” Chalk said. “The contractor has been very innovative in finding ways to get things done.”

The project has also stumbled upon cash-saving good news. As the contractor worked to bore underneath and across U.S. 70 for 36- and 48-inch stormwater pipes, it didn’t hit any rock.

“Rock is expensive” to bore, Chalk said.

The water from the pipes will be carried to Mahler’s Creek southwest of the planned development.

Police station near-ready

At Tuesday’s work session, the council will hear from ADW Architects, which has completed plans on the bond-funded police station.

Chalk said the project will go to bid as soon as the county approves an agreement to transfer to Garner some of the Southeast Regional Library’s parking lot at the May 5 commissioners meeting. Assistant Town Manager Rodney Dickerson said the county facilities manager indicated there would be no hangups in the approval.

Chalk said the bid would likely be put to potential contractors on May 6.

Road and sidewalk delays

While the sidewalk that links South Garner Park to Timber Drive along Claymore and Buckingham is out to bid, other projects in planning phases face delays to the bond’s schedule.

The town is waiting for the City of Raleigh to move some light poles to start work improving the intersection of Jessup Drive and U.S. 70, a project still slated for completion this summer.

The update does not include a projected completion date for the Buffaloe Road sidewalk, which is also waiting for a Raleigh project. Raleigh’s project, Chalk said, wouldn’t be complete until early 2015.

The sidewalk project on Benson Road and Main Street has been delayed by problems with the railroad, Chalk said.

“There is no good explanation, just when the railroad tells us we can go to work we can go to work,” Chalk said. “For those of us who have worked with the railroad over the years, it’s not surprising.”

Google huts

Not all of the future plans center on concrete infrastructure; one development early in planning focuses on highways for information.

At the meeting, Dickerson said the town expects a proposed agreement from Google within days regarding some arrangements for its efforts to bring Google Fiber to the town.

Google is presenting a checklist of items to towns that it is asking towns to provide. In particular Dickerson expected to have details about “huts” that will house hardware used to help deliver Internet service 100 times faster than standerd Internet connections. The huts will be 11.5 by 28 foot one-story buildings. Since each can serve 20,000 households, Garner only will need one or two depending on the proposed network’s setup.

Council members asked if this constituted a competitor to Time Warner Cable phone, Internet and cable. Dickerson said Google will compete with Time Warner for Internet and cable service, which would be packaged at $120 per month, with cheaper options for standard Internet.

“I think I would be safe in saying Garner would welcome competition to Time Warner Cable,” councilman Buck Kennedy said.

Police accreditation

While completion of a new station may be a year away, Garner police keep collecting frame-worthy certifications to hang inside it.

The department earned its seventh Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement certification. CALEA strives to set higher and more professionalized standards for law enforcement. Garner initially earned accreditation in 1992, and had it renewed in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014.

Greenville police Chief Hassan M. Aden presented the award Tuesday.

“That is an outstanding accomplishment,” Aden said. “They really need to be commended.”

About 3,000 of the nation’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies are accredited, Aden said.

 

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

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