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Range St. to be repaved; Infrastructure to be upgraded Work to begin first week of October

John Willoughby: Greene Publishing, Inc.

On Wednesday, Sept. 26, a press release from the City of Madison and City Manager Jerome Wyche was released announcing and detailing the upcoming upgrades to the City of Madison which include the re-pavement of a portion of Range St., as well as the upgrade of existing infrastructure. The last time any portion of Range St. was repaved was during the mid to late-90s, when the repaving took place from US Hwy. 90 to the intersection of Dade St. In February of 2017, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) entered into a Small County Outreach Program (SCOP) agreement with the City of Madison. The agreement was ratified by the City Commissioners as evidenced by resolution 2017-17, signed by then-Mayor Jim Catron at a regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 14, 2017.

According to Wyche, the leadership of the City of Madison and department heads of city utilities prepared to move forward with a much-needed road improvement project for the City of Madison. Grateful to the FDOT for the award of $337,903, the City of Madison is delighted to announce the repaving of Range St., measuring from Dade St. to Millinor St., in an effort to improve the driving condition for citizens and travelers alike, as well as enhance the appearance.

In addition to repaving a portion of Range St., Wyche also announced that there are plans to upgrade the infrastructure during the project, which would prevent the City from having to tear up recently-paved asphalt to fix and/or upgrade infrastructure, which is known as a 50 plus year-old lead-jointed water line. According to Wyche, the decision was made to abandon the current infrastructure and install new water lines that would essentially run parallel with the edge of the roadway, making the lines more accessible for repair or upgrades. "After some debate, paving of the street would undoubtedly enhance the quality of life for motorists," said Wyche. "However, paving over what is commonly known as crumbling infrastructure, somewhat prevalent in our city, required further strategic planning."

According to Wyche, the sewer lines required an increase in capacity in order to better serve the citizens. To further improve the sewer infrastructure, five manholes are scheduled to be upgraded and routed off-center of the roadway.

Taking over the project is Dowdy Construction and Plumbing, for an estimated total of $636,847. Broken down, there will be a roadway cost of $360,847; waste-water cost of $158,000; and water cost of an estimated $118,000. To complete the roadway project, according to Madison City Clerk Lee Anne Hall, the FDOT amount granted to the City of Madison will be used, as well as additional funds of approximately $22,994. This money will come out of the City of Madison general fund budget, funds specifically received for paving, to satisfy the payment requirement. As far as the project payment for the water and waste-water lines, city enterprise funds will be used to satisfy that requirement.

The project is scheduled to last approximately four months and Wyche urges citizens, as well as businesses in the designated area, to take due notice. Signage is being prepared and will be installed to provide directions for customers to gain access to the businesses that are impacted. Those businesses include Jimbob Printing, Gordon Tractor Company, AOK Electric Company, Madison Plumbing, Schoelles and Associates and Barber Cuts by Janice. Other businesses, including Farmer's Furniture, Like New Car Wash and the Dialysis Center, will have alternate access routes.

The City of Madison is requesting that businesses, customers and motorists use extreme caution and patience as this project is being completed. There may be instances when water services may be interrupted, but only for short periods of time. Wyche also noted that weekend work may be a necessity for the contractors and proper notification will be issued. "The project will bring about some inconveniences, but at its completion, the citizens of Madison will appreciate the effort," said Wyche. "The contractor is committed to causing as little disruption to businesses as possible."

DeWayne and Kelli O'Quinn, owners of AOK Electric, which is located within the project area at 421 SW Range St., in Madison, have been at their current location for approximately five years. Kelli is excited to the see the "necessary" project take place and "we're gonna roll with the punches," she says. Kelli also states that the City of Madison has been cooperative in providing ways for customers and employees to reach the electric company.

Additionally, Pam Schoelles with Schoelles and Associates, Inc., operates her business at 439 SW Range St., in Madison, also in the project area. "Will it disrupt business some? Yes," said Schoelles. "[But] it's definitely going to be beneficial in the long-term." Schoelles has been in operation at her current location since 1994 and does not recall a repaving and infrastructure project done in her area on Range St.

The project is expected to begin during the first week in October and will last until late March of 2019. For more information, call City Hall at (850) 973-5081. You may also stop by City Hall, located at 321 SW Rutledge St., in Madison.

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