For years, Columbia County needed rain.
But this summer's extreme amount of rain has blocked progress of several construction projects, including one that would allow Grovetown Middle School pupils to walk to school safely.
The construction of sidewalks, approved by the Grovetown City Council in the spring, was supposed to be finished by now, but it's not.
"We were hoping they would be finished for the time school started," Mayor Dennis Trudeau said.
The need for the sidewalks was brought to public attention by the school's principal, Carolyn Fries, who sent a letter home to parents stating that it is dangerous for children to walk down the shoulder of Harlem-Grovetown Road in the early morning hours when they are barely visible.
A worker smooths concrete
on a new sidewalk leading to Grovtown Middle School. School
officials were expecting the sidewalk from Grovetown to the new school would be finished before school started, but the wet weather slowed construction.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The project was contracted to Georgia Paving Co. The $57,184 bill was split between three government bodies: the city of Grovetown paid $30,000, the school board paid $15,271 and the county chipped in $11,913.
Construction was delayed for two to three weeks while crews leveled the grade of a street leading to new developments to match Berzelia and Harlem-Grovetown roads. That work ended early last week.
That was a minor problem compared to the rain, said Ronnie Hutto, the county's pre-construction engineer.
"The delay has been wet weather," he said. "The extreme amount of rain we have had has prohibited us from getting in to build fill sections and all in order to put the sidewalks in."
The sidewalk is planned to run from Grovetown Middle School down Harlem-Grovetown Road to Adams Lane at the city limits.
Hutto could not give an estimated time that the project will be finished because of unpredictable weather, but he said the plan is to keep working.
"Now that it is dry," he said, "we are moving forward with the project."
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