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Highway Work Expected to Resume

Progress has finally been made on the change order that has held up the Highway 5 construction project for at least two years, according to the District Construction Engineer Joe Trantham.

“We had to move some utility lines because of the embankment that was sliding. They finally got that done about six to eight weeks ago,” Trantham said. Trantham now predicts the work will be complete by this fall.

The multi-million dollar change order resulted from a slide that occurred near the north end of the project. Trantham said one of the big hold-ups was the negotiation of an easement for the utilities, which had already been installed and had to be moved following the slide. The water line was initially going to be placed within the same easement obtained from a private property owner by Entergy. However, this was not included in the paperwork when Entergy negotiated its easement, and the property owner did not want the water line in the same easement.

This situation has been resolved, Trantham said, so earth work is expected to continue now as soon as the ground is dry enough.

“It needs to quit raining and dry up a little so they can get that equipment up there,” he said.

Work has also been delayed on the Coon Creek Bridge. They have opted to wait until warmer weather to continue pouring concrete on the bridge, Trantham said. He noted that the contractor, Pace Construction, still has plenty of time to complete the bridge, and the hold-up on the overall project will be the dirt work on the road.

Pace Construction, which is known for bridge work, got the contract because of the Coon Creek bridge and has subbed out the road work to White River Materials, which is the same company doing the work on Highway 66.

The 66 project is nearing completion, as well, although officials said last November that it would be done before winter.

Trantham said all that’s lacking is the final overlay, which will be done when the weather gets a little warmer.

From the March 25 issue.

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