Intersection closing time may extend

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Columbiana city planner Hilry King is fond of saying, &uot;Every day is good; just some days are better than others.&uot;

Columbiana Mayor Allan Lowe has taken that approach for progress meetings about the Downtown Revitalization Project.

&uot;Every report is good, and some reports are better than others. This report is good, but it probably won’t be the best one,&uot; he said.

After taking the paving completely off Main and College streets where they intersect, contractors discovered that the ground under the asphalt is in dire need of compaction.

King, the design group and an independent &uot;geotech,&uot; who tests soil consistency and compaction on roadbeds, agree that repaving the roads without compacting the ground further would be a grave mistake and an unacceptable option.

Compacting will add another couple of days to the road closing timeframe.

However, before the huge piece of machinery can be used for compacting, everyone agrees that the water main which travels down the centers of Main and College streets must be lowered at least another couple of feet so the water main will not be crushed by the weight of the machinery.

The water board was expected to begin Tuesday, Jan. 20, to lay a new water main beside and substantially deeper than the existing water main.

Businesses in the downtown area will not be without water for the two to three weeks it will take to lay the new main, the mayor said.

&uot;It is possible that this task will extend the closing of the intersection another 10 days, weather permitting,&uot; Lowe said.

&uot;It’s aggravating, but we have to do it right the first time to avoid redoing it in the near future.&uot;

Mayor Lowe offered his thanks to the Columbiana Water Board for its rapid response and generous assistance with the downtown renovation project from its inception.

He said the water board is bearing the full cost of materials and labor to install this new main which will mean less maintenance in the future and less risk of damage in the coldest months.

&uot;They have the city’s best interest at heart, and we couldn’t do it without them,&uot; Lowe said.

He said the city and contractors also had a scare last week when three underground storage tanks were removed.

As the tanks were laid on top of the ground, a clear liquid began pouring out of them.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management was contacted to inspect the spill and the tanks.

Lowe said ADEM determined that the liquid was water that had been pumped into the tanks more than 40 years ago when the tanks were purged and closed.

There was initially a gasoline smell which caused the concern; however, it soon dissipated, he said.

ADEM officially closed the incident and issued a final report citing no problems.

Lowe urged Columbiana citizens to &uot;Keep your sights fixed on the finished product. A very good friend of mine told me this weekend about a sign he saw when his company was undergoing extensive renovations that inconvenienced employees, and I think the sentiment is true here. The sign read, ‘Progress is messy, but it’s worth it.’&uot;