ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) - A viewer tells us driving around in Athens these days is almost like a game of hide and seek. He says you never know where those orange cones and road construction signs are going to pop up next. It's true, several ongoing utility projects in Athens have resulted in road work, and a new one is just getting underway. WHNT News 19 shows you where the orange cones are popping up next in this week's Driving You Crazy report.
The jackhammers and front end loaders will be ripping up this block of Marion Street this week. It's all part of the construction of the new city hall. New drainage lines have to be installed, and guess where they're going...
"Unfortunately, infrastructure ages and a lot of the infrastructure, like sewer, is underground. And so we have to dig up streets to get to it to replace it," according to Holly Hollman, a spokesperson for the City of Athens.
In fact, much of the road work in Athens this year, and last, has been the result of utility work under the road, more specifically updating the city's aging sewer system.
"In the downtown area we had clay sewer which was over a hundred years old and it starts to crack, tree roots get in it, it starts to leak," Hollman explains.
And that's not a good thing.
While the construction has been something of a headache for drivers, Hollman points out the city has been quick to repave those streets. In fact, repaving the roads that had to be dug up was included in the estimates to update the sewer system.
Marion Street and this end of Hobbs will also be repaved once work around city hall is finished.
Up on the square, utilities are also being updated around the courthouse. That's part of the county's project to renovate the Limestone County Courthouse and includes additional electric lines to accommodate special events around the square.
Hollman says while the construction may be driving you crazy for now, it'll be finished soon which means there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not necessarily a train.
Hollman tells us they hope to finish repaving Hobbs and Marion Streets before the onset of cold weather. In fact, she says current plans call for them to move into the new city hall by December.