By James Beaty
Workers were finally using heavy equipment to scoop broken-up concrete on Electric Avenue on Monday, nearly a week after Ward 5 City Councilor Buddy Garvin brought up the issue to City Manager Pete Stasiak.
Garvin said Monday that he had brought the matter up after hearing from constituents asking about why a portion of Electric Avenue west of G Street had been broken up by heavy equipment, making that part of the street undrivable — and then left in heaps of rubble for days with no more work done at the site.
It also required putting a detour in the area, not only for local residents but for truckers and other drivers who normally use Electric Avenue as well.
“This is an issue,” Garvin said Monday.
“We are shutting down a main artery and walking off and letting it be,” Garvin said, referring to the fact that Electric Avenue is considered a main arterial street in McAlester.
“Why aren’t we fixing it as we go?”
In addition to the inconvenience, Garvin said there’s another issue resulting from recent heavy rains. Water pooling up in areas of the street where concrete panels have been removed can seep under nearby existing concrete street panels, causing the base under them to deteriorate, Garvin said.
“That water will go under,” he said.
The work for the Electric Avenue concrete replacement project has been contracted by the city to KATCON, Inc., which could not be reached for comment as this article was being prepared for publication.
However, both Stasiak and City Engineer John Modzelewski said on Monday they were told that the site where the torn-out concrete had previously been dumped during similar projects was no longer available.
Told that workers were removing the rubble from the street on Monday, Stasiak said he’s glad to hear the project is moving forward.
“That’s good news,” he said.
Garvin had brought up the matter regarding the broken- up concrete along Electric Avenue to Stasiak during the city council’s Aug. 13 meeting at City Hall.
“We’ve shut down Electric Avenue, from the rodeo arena to West Street,” Garvin said, referring to the area where roadblocks were set up, allowing local traffic only.
In addition to the panels that were being broken up, Garvin noted that a piece of heavy equipment, a track-hoe, was set on some panels that had not been removed.
“It’s not a good system,” Garvin said.
City officials had said they would check into the matter — but no substantial work at the site to remove the concrete had been observed until Monday.
Garvin said he will continue to listen to his constituents.
“As long as I’m on the council, I’d better be listening to the voters,” said Garvin.
He also had some advice as planned work continues on more city street.
“Let’s leave them open,” he suggested, until it’s time to do the work to repair or reconstruct them.
Contact James Beaty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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