Follin Lane Project Criticized by WRC Channel 4 News

Originally published 1/8/16

Last week TV Channel 4 News did an on-location story about the Follin Lane Project which is located in the Westbriar Civic Association’s boundary. The on-camera reporter claimed that houses are isolated by the work and the occupants are stranded, and without services.

Actually the two block long street has few homes. At Monday’s regular Town Council meeting, Manager Mercury Payton asked DPW Director Dennis Johnson for his comments on the TV news story.

 Johnson conceded that the living in the middle of a construction project can be a bit stressful, but denied that anyone is stranded or cut off from services. He said that care is taken to make sure that access is open at the end of the work day for the two houses.

The photo above is the intersection with Echols Street, showing access to one of the affected homes. Johnson said the trash and recycle pickup has never been missed. When it is not feasible to drive in with the big trucks, a pickup truck is used. Mail service has not been affected.

The projected finish date has slipped a few months, due to unforeseen situations. A fiber optic cable carrying securiy data was uncovered but could not be moved until proper procedures were in place. Also, it was decided to install several more shut off valves for water into the surrounding neighborhood.

This actually is a plus,” said Johnson. The additional valves will minimize the number of affected homes if water needs to be shut off, for example by a pipe break.

Today, most of the pipes carrying rain runoff have been buried, and the drains from the road gutter are installed. The invisible infrastructure is the most time-consuming part of road work. The concrete curbing should be ready for installation by June, although weather needs to cooperate.

The project will eliminate ditches, and add a sidewalk and bike path. The improved sight lines and intersections should substantially improve safety as well.