Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

October 17, 2013

Collin Street reconstruction project slowed by utilities

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — The front yard of Gary Wynn’s house looks like a bomb went off. Thick black dirt is heaped up two feet tall, orange safety fencing circles around the gaping hole where pieces of pipe stick out, and pieces of construction equipment are frequently parked overnight on their grass. They don’t use their front door.

“It’s been like this a couple of weeks,” Wynn said Thursday. “But what can you do? You can’t do anything about it.”

And unfortunately for Wynn and his neighbors, it will be like this for months more.

The reconstruction of Collin Street between 20th and 31st streets is about six weeks behind schedule right now, delayed by utility companies.

The preparation for the rebuilding involves moving the water and sewer pipes beneath the street, then moving the power and telephone and cable lines, and the gas mains, as well.

“Atmos is still moving the gas lines, and Oncor is still moving the overhead power lines,” explained City Manager Connie Standridge, who is currently doing the job of city engineer, as well. “The poles are set, but the lines have not been moved. After that, the cable company and phone companies have to come in and move their cables over to the new poles. Then we can pull the old poles.”

The goal had been to have the utilities moved by Sept. 1.

Because of the delay, the actual construction on the street has been delayed at least until the first part of January, Standridge said.

“We’re moving, but it’s going slower than we thought,” she added. “The closer we got, we kept pushing it back. We’re actually six weeks behind where we want to be, and it will take at least another six weeks to finish.”

Voters approved the sale of the bonds for Collin Street in 2006, along with a dozen other projects. The city has been taking it one project at a time to keep the debt at a manageable level in line with the city’s income. Collin Street will cost about $2.5 million.

In addition to moving the utilities, pulling up the bricks and replacing them with concrete, the city is also installing a large underground stormwater drainage structure to catch the water that currently runs down the middle of the street, turning Collin into a fast-moving stream during rainstorms.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Standridge warned. “Forrest did, as well. When you reconstruct it you have to tear it up. It’s going to be good, like Forrest, but it will be difficult between now and then.”

Terry Franks, street director, admitted it would be a problem.

“It will go back to being a dirt street before it gets to be concrete,” he said.

The utility work should be done by mid-December, although rain could create more delays, Franks added.

“It all depends on the weather,” he said.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com