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Square work waits for warmer weather

POSTED: February 5, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Cleveland plans to remove underground storage tanks from the square so that road improvements, held up for about three months, can resume.

Once the work is scheduled, city officials have said they would alert the Georgia Department of Transportation so that it can plan to restart its portion of the project, said Teri Pope, DOT spokeswoman.

“It has to be scheduled because DOT only has two crews statewide that can do this work,” Pope said. “We will need lead time to get onto their work list.”

The state was in the middle of upgrades to the square in October when workers, digging to pour concrete footings at U.S. 129 and Ga. 115 for the last of three decorative mast arms, struck the two tanks.

The state stopped the project and notified the Georgia Environmental Facilities Agency, plugging the holes in the meantime with steel plates.

DOT officials later learned that a Pure gas station occupied the lot near the tanks in the early 1960s.

The project is part of an overall effort to improve traffic flow and pedestrian access on the square.

Cleveland spent $42,000 on the mast arms, which will replace wooden signal poles.

Georgia DOT crews also have expanded the turning radius from 5 feet to 75 feet from Ga. 115 east to U.S. 129 south.

DOT crews also are building three crosswalks and installing pedestrian signals to allow protected walking access across U.S. 129 and Ga. 115.

Cleveland City Council discussed the matter Monday night but didn’t set a work schedule, said Connie Tracas, city clerk.

“They just said (to proceed) when the weather gets better, which could be next week,” she said Tuesday. “Seems like every time it’s going to warm up, it gets cold again.”

Later in the week, temperatures are expected to climb into the upper 50s and maybe touch 61, but lows will hover in the 30s, according to the National Weather Service.

Pope said weather conditions are key to finishing the project.

“We must have warmer weather to pour the concrete,” she said. “It needs to be 50 degrees or higher for the first 72 hours. After that, the concrete foundation must have time to cure, between two and four weeks.”

Finally, a state crew will set the mast arms, a process that will take about two days. Then, signal crews will install the traffic lights and do electrical work, Pope said.

“There will be some lane closures as work occurs on the square,” she said. “(Motorists) need to pay attention to (their) vehicle and other traffic.”


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