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Poles Can't Slow Paving

June 1, 2002

Contractor Works Around Utilities Along Garfield Road

News Herald
June 2002
Jennifer Matta
Staff Writer

Though anchored in asphalt, utility poles along the east side of Garfield Road IN mentor aren't intended to be an obstacle course for the bike lanes going in.

The asphalt was packed around the foot of each pole this week to prevent a delay in the road widening project.

"We're still waiting for all of the utilities to get out of the way, but we're not going to hold up the contractor," City Engineer John W. Konrad said. "It's been a real struggle to get all the utilities moved."

Electric, telephone and cable lines were strung along the poles.

Because they were highest, FirstEnergy Corp.'s lines had to be moved first. They were moved last week, about two months later than expected. Ameritech, which owns the poles, and AT&T Broadband are next.

Moving the lines took so long because negotiations with the property owner for easements and tree removal took longer than anticipated, explained Joe Mosbrook, FirstEnergy spokesman.

The new poles are on the western fringe of the Norton Estate, a lush property that in coming years is planned to become the largestdevelopment in Mentor's history.

The paving technique makes for an amusing sight, as the poles appear planted in the road.

But holding up the contractor would be more of a problem than yanking out the poles later and filling in the holes, Konrad said.

The entire surface then would be paved over as planned.

"It won't affect the final product at all," said Cass Conti, project manager for Burton Scot Contractors, the company doing the work.

It also will not affect the Aug. 30 completed date for the $1.2 million project, paid for with state and city funds.

It will cost the city some more money, but no one could say how much.

"It makes considerable extra work for us," Conti said, watching as a crew worked around a pole to smooth out the asphalt, a roller idling by.

A stretch of road that should have taken one day to finish has taken 2 1/2 days, he said.

On Tuesday, the crew worked 11 hours.

But putting off the work could have caused problems when work is in full swing on the final phase of the Interstate 90 interchange at Rout615, Konrad said. Ground breaks on that project on Tuesday.

Garfield Road, which runs parallel to Route 615, will be used as a detour around the construction.

Konrad noted that problems in relocating utility lines appear to be growing because of changes in how utilities can do business.

Utility companies are becoming more limited in what they can charge back to customers. Crews that once may have dealt exclusively with relocating lines now may also be called to outages, which take priority and can be more than an hour's drive away, he said.

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