Engineers prepare plan B for Wood Avenue restoration project

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) -  The Wood Avenue restoration project is one that many who live in area are familiar with.

The original set of plans city engineers submitter were denied by the state for ATRIP funding. The Department of Transportation said they didn't want to pay for $2.5 worth of utility replacement.

So, engineers and city department came up with a plan B.

"It's a milling and building approach," said Mile Doyle with the Florence Water Department. "They're going to mill it down and build it up to add the strength to the street."A

An original restoration project plan included replacing 100-year-old utility and water lines. The new plans leave the sewer and utility systems complete out of the project, unless they are affected by the road work.

To many though, shutting down the road and digging it up seems the be the most sensible time to fix the century old pipes. The state didn't agree.

"We are at the mercy of the state," Doyle explained. "This way cuts the cost down and cuts the time of the project down."

The root systems of the old oak trees that line Wood Avenue was another setback for the project. The Historical Society wants them left untouched, along the gutters and the sidewalks. The city will have an arborist on site to address the trees.

When it comes to the millions to fund the project, city leaders did secure ATRIP funding.

"You're not just given the money. You have to do the work then submit for reimbursement. If it winds up costing less, that's great. But, if it winds up cost more than estimated, we have to cover those extra costs."

That is why they want to get the estimate approved by the state, to save them money in the long run.

Engineers will resubmit the project plans to the city council in May. If all goes well, they hope to begin the preliminary restoration process by the end of this year.