Ledger Inquirer: Gap in guardrail poses a problem

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comJune 16, 2013 

One assumes that when some level of government puts some guardrails up along a road or highway, it's because they're necessary for safety.

It sure isn't for aesthetics, unless you're into galvanized metal. And maybe you are, but that's none of my business. And for that, I am glad.

Anyway, a Concerned Reader named Mike called to report an unsightly and possibly dangerous situation at the intersection of Warm Springs Road and Warm Springs Court.

"There's a section of guardrail there that when the utility company replaced a gas line some months ago, they failed to put it back," Mike said. "The guardrail is laying there to the side, but I guess somebody forgot to replace it. This needs to be addressed."

It's my understanding that when utilities do work on the city rights of way, as the gas company Liberty Utilities (nee Atmos) is certainly doing lately, they coordinate with the city's Engineering Department.

I called Director of Engineering Donna Newman, but she was out of the office. So I got the next best thing, Farhad AliFarhani, a design engineer. Ali (that's what everybody calls him) said he was not aware of the problem but would be glad to get in touch with Liberty and get the situation ironed out.

"When utilities work on the right of way, they coordinate with us for permission and the permits that are necessary," Ali said. "We don't know about every single detail, but we inspect it and if there's something wrong, we get them to correct it."

Thanks, Ali. We'll check back next week for an update.

Update

While I had Ali on the phone, I asked if he knew the status of any proposed repairs to the RiverWalk covered bridge I wrote about last week. As you'll recall, the bridge has an aging and almost perpetually wet and algae-sodden surface that's slick as a TV preacher's hair.

I spoke to Parks and Recreation Director James Worsley, because the RiverWalk is considered a very long skinny park. He said the situation had been turned over to engineering.

Ali said the engineering department held a meeting last week where they decided to consult a consultant on the matter, then to take whatever proposals they come back with to the higher-ups to see what level of repair the city might want to shell out for.

"There are options, and of course, the cost is involved, too," Ali said. "So we're going to gather all the options and all the alternatives and, considering the costs and all the other things we have to do, then decide which route to go."

Apparently several Helpful Readers called the city with easy solutions, he said. I know, because they also called me with their suggestions, too, and I suggested they call the city. (Sorry, Ali.)

"There just isn't any simple thing to do that would be a permanent solution, as was suggested by some of your readers," Ali said. "We're trying to figure out what would be the best solution that would be permanent."

So we'll keep checking in with the good folks in engineering. Meanwhile, if you're a bicyclist and you like keeping the shiny side up and the rubber side down, avoid the bridge.

And stay tuned.

-- Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.

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