Last update11:54:37 PM

Font Size


Menu Style

Back You are here: Home News Local and State News Local Cape Fear Blvd Project Delayed; Unforeseen Items Uncovered

Cape Fear Blvd Project Delayed; Unforeseen Items Uncovered

Work at the intersection of Lake Park Blvd and Cape Fear Blvd in Carolina Beach was progressing on schedule until crews working for the company contracted to replace old underground infrastructure lines began discovering lines that were not on any map. Additionally, they found old water lines serving area businesses that were in serious need of repair with one cracking when they started cutting asphalt in the road. (Click image for larger view...)

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - A project to replace underground utility lines at the intersection of Cape Fear Blvd and Lake Park Blvd in Carolina Beach has uncovered utility lines that were not previously marked on a map. This caused a delay in completing the project that has access to Cape Fear Blvd closed at that intersection.
The contractor began work in mid February. The intersection had to be closed while crews cut up a portion of Lake Park Blvd to install a new sewer line. A manhole was in serious need of replacement due to a 6-foot void that had formed around the manhole under the roadway over the years. Also, the pipe had collapsed.
The recent discovery of underground utilities that were not documented in the plans has caused delays and area business owners are becoming frustrated.
Gil Dubois  - Public Utilities Director - worked before and throughout the project to communicate with area business owners including erecting signs telling the public that businesses in the area remain open.
Chris Higgins of the Artful Living Group located on Cape Fear Blvd wrote to Mayor Dan Wilcox explaining, "I hate to complain. The last couple of days nobody has been working on the street. Today not one worker was there. We understand the need for this project but the city needs to do more to complete this in an expeditious manner. You know how it is during this off-season. Our sales are down over 50% year to date. The customers have had to negotiate barriers and debris to get to the shop. Anything you can do to get this done by the end of the month is appreciated."
Dubois explained to Higgins on Monday March 24th, "We had a meeting today with Brian Cox of Engineering Services, Dustin Wagner and Donald Fields of State Utility Contractors, Gene Gurganious, Justin Maurice and myself from the Town of Carolina Beach. We reviewed the existing proposed plans, made 7 extra exploratory excavations to uncover specific locations, found where three various sized water lines do exist and are active, discovered two abnormal water service locations where a new service line will be required to service the specific buildings, found some construction items that need to be addressed as soon as possible."
He explained, "Brian will start preparing a revised plan this evening and said he would have it ready for review by mid-day on Tuesday March 25, 2014. Dustin Wagner of State Utilities will then provide me an updated schedule for the project area. I know this may not mean a lot to you but we did discover three active water lines today that are serving residents and business of Carolina Beach that were not on any historical or existing drawing or plan that we have."
He explained, "It appears that some of these lines were installed around the mid-1940's and are in very poor condition. One 2" inch galvanized water main ruptured today as we were cutting the asphalt to conduct an exploratory excavation. Our main goal is to provide adequate drinking water to the residents and businesses in the Town of Carolina Beach, maintain operational pressures as required by the state, keep US 421 open and get the project completed as fast as feasible. There are some serious concerns in this immediate area. The lines are failing and they need to be replaced as quickly as possible. We sincerely regret the project taking a little longer than expected, but we based the schedule on the previous plans and details, we continue to find lines and other issues that were totally unexpected."
He explained, "The contractor understands that this area is a critical site in the Town of Carolina Beach and fully understands the need to be completed and opened up ASAP. The contractor does not want to stop short of getting all items identified completed at this time to prevent system failures and so the extension of this project that will start shortly after Labor Day 2014 in this specific area of the project will move along according to schedule."
Wilcox explained to Higgins, "Chris, I realize the time is running longer and I spoke with Gil about it today. Apparently the contractor is running into hidden conditions below the street. Every time that happens they have to get the engineers involved to design fixes and that makes for additional delays, and sometimes a short stoppage of work while they work through the details. I know staff shares council's concern regarding impacts on local businesses and is doing everything they can to keep things moving, and at the same time address unanticipated conditions. We should have an updated schedule soon and I will share that with you."
A plan was created to deal with the unforeseen issues and on Tuesday March 25th, Brian Cox, PE of Engineering Services, PA wrote to Dustin Wagner of State Utilities Contractors, Inc  - the company performing the work - stating, "After our site meeting yesterday, Gil and I had a brief meeting with the Town Manager. Gil and the town are receiving pressure from the council and residents to get Cape Fear Blvd. opened back up. Understanding the weather delays, unknown utility connections, etc., that have delayed this project, we all expect to see major progress on this project now that a plan is in place. Additional crews should be added to work on both sides of Lake Park to expedite the completion of the work. Please note that the amusement park equipment, that sets up where the material storage yard is, will be coming in to install sometime in April. This needs to be coordinated with Gil."
Dubois explained to Wagner, "It would be very appreciated to have all the work completed prior to Easter week-end."
Wagner explained Tuesday that, "We have been working on it all day. Do you know what the DOT is going to do about the milling and over lay. That is a time consuming part of the work. We feel we can be very close on the completion with everything going in the right direction. I do feel now that we have a handle on the scope of the work. But we have lost a substantial number of days to weather also. If the weather turns our way we can be complete but we are really going to push it. We are preparing a very detailed schedule for your review. It will be to you very soon."