Harper Avenue road work nears completion

Project a pain for commuters, auto shop nearby
Apr. 03, 2013 @ 08:00 AM

A stretch of Harper Avenue should finally be paved by the time you wake up today.

On March 8, Lenoir road crews started working to replace a stormwater culvert near the intersection of Glendale Street. The traffic lanes have been narrowed ever since and sliced crossways with a trench that was either covered with steel plates or temporarily filled with dirt, slowing traffic. Work that should have taken two weeks has now taken nearly a month, thanks to an unexpected  broken water line and leaky sewer manhole. Paving had to wait for a cold spell to pass so temperatures would stay above freezing, further delaying completion of the project.

Workers spent Tuesday preparing the site for paving, which was expected to take place Tuesday night from 6:30 p.m. to midnight.

The repair work has slowed business at Lenoir Muffler and Brake Shop, where the sound of jackhammers echoed loudest. Owner James Newsome figures he’s lost about 30 percent of his business since March 8 because of restricted access to his shop. He also wonders why days sometimes seemed passed without a worker in sight.

“This (April 1) was the second Monday in a row they didn’t work,” Newsome said. “I don’t know why. I can’t stop progress, but it has been very aggravating.”

Neill Grading has been working with the city’s Utilities Department to make the repairs. The cost of the fix, which was not included in the city’s annual budget, was estimated at $174,000. The city also ran into increased expenses due to the delay. Still, the final cost might actually be less. Instead of replacing a 12-inch storm drain, as originally planned, crews instead lined the pipe with concrete to seal the leaking joints, which will save between $7,000 to $8,000, said Charles Beck, Public Works Director.