Officials to look into night work on street

CONYERS - Concerns over the disruptive nature of the West Avenue beautification and improvement project led one business owner on the street to ask the city to consider doing the work at night.

David Shipp, who operates Puritan Cleaners, said having the street reduced to one lane and other construction issues expected throughout the six-month project would have a serious negative impact on his business.

"I can certainly see this disruption being very detrimental to my business," Shipp told the City Council on Wednesday night. "A lot of the work done on the Main Street project was done at night, and very successfully, so I'd like the city to look at this possibility."

Mayor Randy Mills said Shipp's request was not unreasonable and would ask city officials to look into the idea.

"I don't know if this is something we can do, but we will certainly give it consideration," Mills said.

A key consideration of the request is the impact employing workers at night could have on the cost of the overall project because contractors would have to pay a shift deferential.

Brad Sutton, director of public works and transportation for Conyers, said the work could be done in the evening, but it could increase the cost of the project by as much as 20 percent.

"The project is budgeted at approximately $1.8 million so it could mean a significant increase in the final cost," Sutton said. "There might be some things we can do to offset some of the cost, so we will look at the request."

Sutton also said they would look at various options to help mitigate the impact of construction on local businesses along the street.

The West Avenue project will include enhancement of the entrance and exit ramps at the Interstate 20 interchange. Improvements will be made to landscaping, sidewalks, street lighting and resurfacing of roads up to Green Street.

Plans call for sidewalks to be constructed on both sides of West Avenue from the I-20 interchange all the way to Green Street. However, two businesses - Puritan Cleaners and A Clean and Tidy Carpet Cleaning Service - have yet to sign easements with the city allowing for the sidewalks.

Negotiations with Conyers concerning easements on the two West Avenue properties are ongoing and Shipp said he was "pretty close" to reaching an agreement and was confident something would be worked out.

The project is being funded through revenue from the special purpose local option sales tax, the tree bank fund and state aid money.

Sutton said he expects to have the project ready for bid by early spring.

Ric Latarski can be reached at ric.latarski@rockdalecitizen.com.