Permanent Crowell Road fix in the works

COVINGTON -- A permanent repair to the portion of Crowell Road damaged by last year's flooding is in the works.

Commissioners recently approved a $124,422 contract with Moreland Altobelli Associates for the design and engineering work on the project, which Chairman Kathy Morgan estimates could take about six months to complete. Once the design work is approved, likely in spring 2011, and a contractor selected, construction can get under way. Construction is expected to take six months to a year.

The improvement will likely involve raising the road at the area damaged by flooding by up to 4 feet and installing a box or arch culvert. A bypass lane will be installed to keep the road open to traffic when construction gets under way, Morgan said. An estimated 15,000 cars travel the road per day.

Crowell Road near the I-20 intersection and Harold Dobbs Road was closed for six weeks beginning in September 2009 due to flooding; temporary repairs were made to the road but it has been closed at least twice since then due to heavy rains. The pipes currently in place have failed three times in 10 years due to overflow from the nearby Yellow River.

The entire project is being funded by the county.

In April, commissioners rejected a task order from Hatch Mott MacDonald to do the design work for $140,000, which some board members said was too high. Hatch Mott MacDonald and Moreland Altobelli, both county transportation consulting firms, were asked to rebid and Moreland Altobelli was the low bidder.

Listed as an assumption on Moreland Altobelli's bid was that Crowell Road will remain open during construction.

"I think that should not be an assumption, but should be mandatory," said Commissioner Mort Ewing. "When that road closes it nearly puts some people out of business."