A bit of a snafu in design plans for the Lights Ferry connector project actually ended up bringing some good luck to both Flowery Branch and Norfolk Southern.
“There was an error made in ... the original survey of the project, that basically put a stormwater drainage structure three feet below the ground rather than emptying out on the ground,” City Manager Bill Andrew explained at Thursday’s City Council meeting.
The original design of the Lights Ferry connector project didn’t have construction crews going onto the railroad right-of-way, but this new information will require that.
“There happens to be a 15-inch pipe that already runs at an angle underneath Snelling and empties out into the road right-of-way, right in the path where we would need to connect this now underground pipe,” Andrew said. “So, that’s luck that we’re already at an angle that happens to allow us to tie into an existing pipe. The bad luck is that existing pipe is 15 inches.”
Flowery Branch is going to upgrade the pipe to 24 inches, while also replacing the current metal pipe with more durable concrete.
Council members approved an $8,978 agreement with Norfolk Southern, which allows the city to access the right-of-way.
“They’ve been very, very efficient,” Andrew said regarding the negotiations with the railroad company. “We very much appreciate their cooperation.”
The Lights Ferry connector is a 130-foot roundabout running between Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway and McEver Road. Construction is ongoing in the area of Lights Ferry Road and Mitchell Street, and it is expected to take around nine months.
This additional contract doesn’t put the project over budget, Andrew said.
“What I will say about the whole project ... is that it’s going to make the entire project better in that area,” Andrew said. “Right now, the signal arms are new, and if you go look at them now, they’re actually being undermined. The foundation of them is close to being exposed now because of ... problems that are currently existing.
“We’re going to make that whole situation better, not only for us but for the railroad and obviously for the citizens.”