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Saturday, May 12, 2018

East Broadway work creating issues
The project to replace aging water and wastewater piping under East Broadway through downtown Newport, is creating a headache for traffic and retailers. Newport Utilities workers currently expect the project, from the Cosby Highway to Belton Avenue, to be completed by October. As each section is completed, binder asphalt will be put on the repaired area, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation(TDOT) will repave the entire street in the Spring of next year. The project will stretch from the Cosby Highway to Belton Avenue, however only the portion from Cosby Highway to Baer Ave will require a shutdown. Only one block will be shut down at a time, and each section is expected to take about three weeks. Waterworks Manager Clint Hammonds says the project has several goals; improved water quality; elimination of crumbling, leaking sewer pipes and to provide tremendously improved fire flow (3 4 times the current rate). During the project, side streets, except for Woodlawn Avenue, will remain open, and buildings and sidewalks will be accessible. Several retailers on East Broadway say they talked with a TDOT engineer who suggested work on the project could be done at night, the ditch steel-plated and the street opened to traffic during the day. But Hammonds argues that is not feasible, pointing out that some of the ditching is up to eight feet deep and would pose a major safety hazard. "Because of the nature of the excavation being deep, and four feet wide for the sewer, if the excavation was steel-plated, it would still be a very dangerous situation for traffic. So whether we do the work during the day or at night, the section we are working on would still have to be closed down," the engineer explained. He adds that the trench will need to remain open until each section is complete in order to achieve the proper compaction and backfill. Portions of the job which have water only, between Baer Ave and Iris Place, will not be shut down completely, but reduced to one lane with work conducted at night and during weekend hours. In addition, the portion between Iris Pl and Lincoln Ave, will have traffic diverted and not shut down. Water and sewer service will not be shut off during construction under normal conditions, because switch overs from old piping to new, will be scheduled after business hours so as not to impact customers.


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