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Resurfacing starts

Short, Howard done; council wants to add Swift Mill to mix

Paving crews return to work along Howard Street Monday as a dump truck begins loading a spreader.

News Staff Writer

Motorists in Atmore came to the full realization this week that a $600,000-plus, eight-street resurfacing project — which could become a nine-street project — is now under way.
Four city council members voted during their June 10 session, for which Mayor Jim Staff and District 5 rep Chris Harrison were absent, to ask engineers and paving company officials to provide estimates on adding a portion of Swift Mill Road to the municipal paving project, since new blacktop is already being added to Short Street.
Crews from Mobile Asphalt Co. began last week putting new surfaces on some of the local streets with the shortest segments destined for paving.
“They got Short Street first,” Staff said late last week. “Church Street was supposed to be the first because it’s the longest and in the worst shape, but Chicken on Church (a June 6 Leadership Atmore fundraiser that included the closing of a section of the street) was already planned when the company was ready to start.”
Church Street, one of the city’s heaviest-traveled traffic arteries, is scheduled for milling and resurfacing of its entire eastern section, from Alabama 21 to Medical Park Drive.
Paving equipment and crews finished the work on Howard Street Monday and are expected to move next to Oak Hill Avenue, where a new street cover will be poured on the section from Main to Peachtree streets. The project will then move to one of the bigger stretches of street, unless the paving company decides to insert Church back into the mix.
“They were going to go from Short Street to Howard to Oak Hill, then I think the Brookwood-Forest Hill area will be after that,” the mayor said of a stretch of resurfacing that will extend all the way to Rockaway Creek Road.
The entire project is expected to cost $631,315 and require about 5,000 tons of asphalt. Although crews have made significant progress, intermittent rain showers have held them back to some degree.
“They could have already had a lot more done if it hadn’t rained,” Staff said. “But we needed rain more than we needed the paving.”
With most of the work having been done on short sections of street, traffic has yet to be strongly affected by the resurfacing. However, Monday’s temporary closing of Howard Street at its Main Street junction caused a few concerns, especially for those visiting the city.
“I’m not from here, so I don’t know what to do or where to go,” said Mindy Graham of Molino, Fla., who pulled into a vacant lot when she wasn’t allowed to turn off Main onto Howard to connect with Jack Springs Road.
Staff said the project should be completed in “probably three or four weeks, more if we get any more rain.” He cautioned that local and out-of-town drivers should be prepared for short stops or detours during the relatively short period the work should take.
“Once they get cranked up, they really get at it,” he said of the paving contractor.
In the only other business conducted Monday, city council members unanimously accepted a bid from Atmore-based TripTek Construction LLC for improvements to parking lots at Houston Avery Park and along Trammell Street.
The company’s bid of $189,730 was the lowest among those opened by city officials on June 6.