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Candler Road to become beautiful for Christmas

Jennifer Ffrench-Parker | 8/15/2014, 4:09 a.m.
Candler Road, which has been home to traffic jams, metal plates and bumpy concrete patches for more than a year, ...
Businesses and residents along Candler Road will get an update on the project at a Sept. 4 information meeting in the Mount Patmos Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.

Candler Road, which has been home to traffic jams, metal plates and bumpy concrete patches for more than a year, will be made whole again by Dec. 31.

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Wendell Brown

Wendell Brown, De­Kalb County Watershed Management construction manager, told the DeKalb Board of Commissioners at its Aug. 12 meeting that the 3.7-mile stretch from Memorial Drive to I-285 would be paved and landscaped before the end of year.

“We will have most of it done in December,” he said, “but we will return in February and March to do punch list.”

Businesses and residents along the busy corridor will get an update on the project at a Sept. 4 information meeting in the Mount Patmos Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 2207 Candler Road in Decatur.

The meeting takes place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Brown said after the meeting that they want to have all the paving done before the winter weather takes hold and that shrubs will be installed in the spring.

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Larry Johnson

District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson, who represents the area, pressed for a completion date before the board approved a $1.3 million change order on the Candler Road Waterline Replacement, Landscape and Resurfacing project.

“Candler Road is the gateway to South DeKalb,” he said. “We want it to look as good as possible.”

The change order extends the contract from June 28, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2015.

The contract, originally awarded to Kemi Construction for $7.2 million, is replacing 1960s and 1970s underground water mains and making streetscape upgrades like new sidewalks, road striping and repaving, median landscaping, and other infrastructure improvements. It is one of 83 projects being funded by the county’s $1.35 billion Capital Improvement Program that is making improvements to its water and waste-water system.

Once under way, Brown said contractors discovered that they had to replace more of the water lines with stronger and larger pipes.

The change order also included $227,460 for Duluth engineering firm Wolverton & Associates Inc. for waterline replacement work on the project. It will provide project and change order management, final inspection and project close-out service.

The county said it opted for the change order because bidding the additional work would slow down the project’s completion.

So far, College Park-based Kemi Construction had completed 74 percent of the work and received $5.5 million of the original contracted amount.

When it started in spring 2013, the project was to take six months to complete.

During the past 16 months, the slow pace has tried the patience of business owners, residents and commuters. This spring, at the height of the traffic disruption, business owners along the busy corridor complained that the never-ending construction had driven away customers and reduced sales 20 percent to 75 percent.

Now that most of the major work has been done, the lane closures and most of the metal plates are gone, but the road surface is patchy and bumpy.

Business owners also complained that the county did not inform them about the scope of the project and how long it would take to complete.