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Sidewalk project problems isolated and identified

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    The large drain pipe discovered will require two junction boxes be build like the one seen in this photo to accommodate the drainage of the pipe. LEE COLEMAN/Staff
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    While excavating on the south end of the Eatonton sidewalk project, Horizon Construction uncovered this ¾ inch water line unknown in construction plans. The line ran under the buildings on the west side of North Jefferson forcing the Eatonton Water Autho
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    In lieu of trying to dig out and reroute the ¾ inch water line, the Water Authority dug a pit in the back of the buildings at the fire hydrant and installed two water taps. A pipe was connected with four enclosed water lines and ran down the backside of
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    This 8-10 inch drain pipe was also unknown in construction plans as it was a part of the 100-year old infrastructure in the area of the new sidewalk. LEE COLEMAN/Staff

The Eatonton Streetscape sidewalk project was originally planned to be completed by Nov. 1, 2020. But yet, in the first week of April, the west side of North Jefferson remains torn up and the project has not been completed.

Not yet. The good news is the problem areas have not only been identified but are now getting fixed. Central to the overall inherited problems not shown on any maps can be pinpointed directly back to the 100-year old infrastructure and the lack of pertinent information on the whereabouts of water lines, drain pipes, junction boxes and so forth.

As these problems were uncovered, literally, the city and Simonton Engineering has dealt with the issues and Horizon Construction has made some of the fixes but not all of them up to this point.

After a field trip through the dirt on Monday with city administrator Gary Sanders, the Eatonton Messenger was given a bird’s eye view of the culprits impeding the completion of the project.

During demolition in the area of the new sidewalk down in front of the old Moore LP Gas building, a large 8 to 10 inch drain pipe was discovered that was not previously known to anyone. Next, in between Moore’s and the doctor’s office, a ¾ inch water line was discovered that ran under all the buildings. The problem was how to reroute the line so water service to businesses on Marion Street would not be impacted.

The city reached out to the Eatonton Water Authority and worked with Brice Doolittle and his team to develop a solution. Instead of trying to dig up that line under the buildings, a pit was dug behind the row of buildings in front of a fire hydrant.

Two water taps were built and a single pipe housing four water lines was buried underground to four new water meters sitting above ground. From the water meters, the pipe ran up the back of the buildings on Marion Street, across the roof and down into a small courtyard nestled between the buildings.

As a result, the ¾ inch water line was rendered useless and will be cut and removed from the project area.

As for the large drain pipe, Horizon will construct two new junction boxes to handle the new drainage thus resolving that issue now that the main nemesis of the ¾ inch line has been resolved and fixed.

Work was slated to resume on Tuesday and Sanders was both relieved and happy to see the progress now being made.

“We have watched eagerly over the last couple of weeks as the Water Authority operations have worked diligently to relocate some water services that came out of a conflict with an unknown water main that was serving customers that really inhibited our operation on the south side of the project,” said Sanders on Monday. “They have completed their portion of that relocation and we expect Horizon Construction to be back on site on [Tuesday] in preparation to get a water line we have to install so this does free us from the conflict we had with an unknown water main that will allow our contractor to form up and move to the south end of the project so we can get this knocked out.”