February 14, 2016

17° Partly Cloudy

Alley power lines moving underground

Published 10:39 am Tuesday, January 29, 2013

After about five months of waiting for cost estimates from AT&T, plans are progressing to move all of the power lines in Catfish Alley underground.

Catfish Alley runs from Wapping Street to Broadway. The block from Wapping to East Main Street is directly behind the courthouse, which is being transformed into the new Franklin County Judicial Center.

The Project Development Board received an estimate of about $24,500 from the Frankfort Plant Board months ago to move the electric and telecommunication lines underground.

However, the board decided the initial estimate from AT&T a range from $1,500 to $500,000 was too broad to keep plans progressing.

Planning Director Robert Hewitt said a $150 deposit was required to receive a more accurate estimate, which the county heard Monday.

The board unanimously approved to accept the $15,030 estimate.

I think thats reasonable, and I think we ought to do it, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate said.

The project stems from the Green Streets Grant the county received to improve water quality and promote green infrastructure.

Instead of continuing to have asphalt in the alley, the plan suggests using concrete that would push water away from the edges of the buildings.

Underneath the concrete, there would be a chamber to capture storm water that would flow into the Kentucky River instead of going to the Sewer Departments treatment plant.

Hewitt estimates this will eliminate more than 1 million gallons of storm water per year from the treatment plant.

Hewitt said it makes sense to move the power lines underground in conjunction with the storm water project because the concrete will already be torn up.

The Green Streets Grant required a partnership with the city to complete the project, and the City Commission approved a memorandum of agreement with the county Monday. Fiscal Court will discuss the project Thursday.

The county will be responsible for the Catfish Alley and Wapping Street portions of the project.

Also during Mondays meeting, Architect Rick Kremer and Codell Construction Manager Bill Bridges told board members the project is on schedule, under budget and set to finish in August.

Permanent heat will be turned on in February and woodwork and refinishing will start in the courtrooms, Bridges said.

The board also approved an invoice for $628,567 to pay Codell, Kremer and for construction materials.

During a Jan. 18 meeting, the board authorized the Executive Committee, comprised of Judge-Executive Ted Collins and Administrative Office of the Courts representative Danny Rhoades, to continue negotiations to purchase the lot that currently holds a staging area.

The area would add 20-24 parking spaces for the courthouse.

I think we owe it to the citizens of Franklin County to get more parking spaces, Wingate said during that meeting.