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Portion of 20th St. N.E. to be closed Nov. 7

The much anticipated start of Phase Two of the 20th St. N.E. improvement project will kick off on Monday, Nov. 7, with the closing of the busy artery serving Eastside Elementary School from the intersection with U.S. Hwy. 84 to the intersection of 19th St. N.E.
Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton said that section of 20th St. closing on the 7th will remain closed for the duration of the project.
The city is replacing the roadbed, widening the street, piping the ditches, and installing curb and gutter, as well as resurfacing the street and painting new striping.
Another facet of the project is to use some of the existing roadbed to pave streets in adjoining Greenwood and Crestview Cemeteries.
City officials recently hosted a preconstruction meeting with the contractor and invited Eastside School administrators and Grady County School System Director of Operations Jerry Cox to participate in the planning for the upcoming road work.
“The contract allows for 180 days to complete the work, but unless something bad happens or we have issues with weather, the contractor says it will not take that long,” Addleton told city councilmen Monday night.
The city street is the main access to Eastside, which is the county’s second largest school.
After meeting with school officials, it was decided that school buses will access the school from U.S. 84 to Livestock Pavilion Road to 19th St. N.W. and then 20th to Eastside.
Addleton noted that 19th St. N.W. runs from U.S. 84 around the western boundary of the two city cemeteries and dead-ends into Livestock Pavilion Road.
“We are happy with the plan. This route will add very little to the bus route,” Operations Director Cox said.
Eastside Principal Shelia Cain says she has advised parents since the beginning of this school term that this project was in the works.
“We will recommend that parents follow the same route as the buses so that they will only have a right turn onto 20th St. and will not have to cross over,” Mrs. Cain said.
The principal notes that taking 19th St. N.W. from 84 and GA Hwy. 188 to 20th St. will also be options.
Mrs. Cain is sending a newsletter to parents and guardians of Eastside students this week, and she will also make a telephone call to all homes of students on Nov. 6 to remind parents and guardians of the street closing.
“We have been expecting this and plan to be patient as the work takes place. It certainly will be worth it once it is complete,” Mrs. Cain said.
This year Grady County schools will be closed for the entire week of Thanksgiving so, according to the city manager, the contractor plans to shut down the remainder of 20th to Eastside for thru traffic.
The contractor will maintain access for local traffic so that nearby homeowners can access their homes.
“They are planning to knock out a lot of the work during that week, weather permitting,” Addleton said.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas, whose district includes the Eastside School neighborhood, asked what was the projected date for completion. The city manager said he could not predict a finish date, but he stressed that the contract calls for the project to be finished in not more than 180 days.
Douglas has been critical that the project did not begin earlier in the year so that as much of the work as possible could have been done when school was closed for the summer break.
The low bidder on the Phase Two project is the Scruggs Company of Valdosta, which bid $768,963.49 for the work. Of that total, Addleton says approximately $75,000 is for the paving of the cemetery streets. That portion of the project will be paid for with funds in the city’s cemetery and parks budget, but the majority will come out of 2008 Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax proceeds.

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