May 26--As we have reported recently, the ongoing inconvenience that is the Forrest Road bridges project continues to drag on with little chance of it being completed this year.
As you may have read in a recent Ledger Inquirer column, one of the main holdups has been AT&T working on either switching out transmission cables or sheathing and protecting them. AT&T spokesman Terry Smith told the Inquirer that the work on the Cooper Creek bridge, which has caused a two-mile detour for thousands of drivers every day, is complete, so that bridge may soon be reopened.
But the work on Bull Creek involves switching thousands of copper lines over to fiber optic cables, which apparently isn't something that can be done quickly.
Smith met with City Manager Isaiah Hugley in March and assured him they are moving as quickly as possible. Maybe it's a coincidence, but after we reported on the Bull Creek work, Smith appeared before Council Tuesday to give city leaders an in-person update.
Smith said they're working 12 hours a day, six days a week to get the job done, and they hope to have it complete by early August.
"We're looking for opportunities to shorten that time frame and if we can, we will," Smith said. "We appreciate your patience and understanding with this. It's not an easy task."
And apparently it's not something that can be accomplished more quickly simply by throwing more workers at it.
"One of our construction managers put it this way," Smith said. "It takes nine months to have a baby. But you can't get nine women together and have a baby in one month."
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson asked Hugley if there are any other projects that AT&T has held up. And you know lawyers. They don't ask questions unless they already know the answer.
"I'm not going to mention any other specific project," Hugley said. "But I shared my concern with them not only about the Forrest Road project, but about a number of projects in the past and a number of projects ongoing that we've had to wait on AT&T.
"I wanted to be very candid, and I think I was, in saying that we have got to work more closely with them and they have got to do a better job."
Mike Owen: 706-571-8570, @mikeowenle
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