By Kaylyn Christopher
Times West Virginian
The current street paving cycle taking place throughout Fairmont is almost complete.
“We are moving rapidly through our last paving area,” City Manager Jay Rogers said at Tuesday’s Fairmont City Council meeting.
Rogers said the majority of the streets in the Watson area were able to be paved Tuesday, but work on one major roadway will be completed today.
According to Rogers, a portion of Mary Lou Retton Drive is scheduled to be paved today, causing some traffic pattern changes between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
“Mary Lou Retton Drive from Fox Hill Lane to Old Monongah Road will be shut down to vehicular traffic (today) while they pave that,” Rogers said.
Rogers said that in the past, there were concerns about water penetrating the roadway in that area. While the city collaborated with the West Virginia Division of Highways on an extensive storm water project to combat that issue last year, Rogers said they are taking extra precautions to make sure there are no problems.
“The roadway is going to be paved in one pass so there won’t be any seams in the roadway at all and water can get in there,” Rogers said. “Even though the storm water project looks like it has worked well out there, we want to give it some additional insurance.”
Rogers said detour signs will be posted for drivers who travel in that direction.
“One of the benefits is that we have fire hydrants in that location, so once it’s paved and rolled, they can use the fire hydrants to cool the asphalt and get traffic back on it as soon as possible,” Rogers said.
Also at the meeting, Utility Manager David Sago updated council on the ongoing water project, which includes a generator and an automated meter reading system.
Through the AMR system, customers’ water usage will be sent to the city on a daily basis and will eliminate the need for the meters to be read manually.
Workers from C.I. Thornburg as well as the City of Fairmont began work on the system Tuesday, taking the lids off the meter wells, cutting them and replacing them so they are ready for transmitters to be installed. The signals from the transmitters will be sent to towers located throughout the water system.
Sago said the project will help the city track water that’s unaccounted for and stabilize water rates.
“My staff will be out there on the pavement and in the trenches working in collaboration with customers and the contractor to make sure it’s a smooth transition and that we can answer each and every one of their questions,” Sago said.
The AMR project is expected to be finished by July 2014.
Sago also said the generator project should be completed after Thanksgiving. According to Sago, in the event of a power outage, the generator will make it possible to continue to send water to the water treatment plant.
“These types of projects make our system and our communities sustainable for long-term economic development and long-term growth,” Sago said.
In relation to the generator project, council adopted an ordinance authorizing the city to lease .03 acres of land from CSX Transportation Inc. so security fencing could be expanded at the city’s raw water pump station.
In other business:
• Mayor Ron Straight read a proclamation declaring today as Brandon Akers Day in the City of Fairmont. Akers is a life Scout of Pleasant Valley’s Troop 7 who worked to improve the park off Morgantown Avenue in Fairmont. He added a gazebo and replaced benches, and he plans to put in picnic tables, paint the four-square court and create a hopscotch court.
Akers completed the project in honor of his sister, Belle, who passed away in 2010, and he planted a flower garden with a butterfly bush in the middle because Belle loved butterflies.
“We extend to him our deepest appreciation for all his dedicated work at the park and wish him the best in all his future endeavors,” Straight said.
• Council went into executive session to discuss matters involving the purchase, sale, conveyance or lease of real property.
Email Kaylyn Christopher at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @KChristopherTWV.