published Monday, February 18th, 2013

Permit now needed to dig up Rossville streets

  • photo
    Councilman Hal Gray, Jr., speaks during a Rossville City Council meeting.
    Photo by Alyson Wright /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Contractors who dig up freshly paved streets in Rossville to get at underground gas, power or water lines now may have to repave a block-long stretch of road.

That's according to an ordinance the City Council passed last week that's meant to keep city streets looking good.

"It's just to reassure that they repair the roads," City Councilman Hal Gray said. "In the past, you've had people that have come in and done some work and didn't repair it. We've had to."

The ordinance requires that contractors pay a minimum fee of $250 for a permit to cut the pavement and give written notification at least 24 hours before beginning work.

If the contractor makes five cuts in a city block on a street that's been paved within the past two years, patching isn't enough. The contractor will have to repave the street.

Gray said Red Bank passed a similar ordinance about a year ago.

Chattanooga has policies meant to discourage utilities from digging up freshly paved streets, Traffic Engineer John Van Winkle said.

"That's the worst thing: You pave a street, and here comes a crew to dig it up," Van Winkle said.

If the city redoes a street, it tries to get utilities to do underground work before the street is resurfaced, he said.

And if a utility needed to dig up fresh asphalt?

"The policy was that if it was paved in 'X' number of years, you can't just patch it," Van Winkle said. "You have to pave it from curb to curb."

Tennessee American Water, Comcast, EPB, Walker County and AT&T are among the utilities that will be invoiced monthly by Rossville under the new ordinance.

"City ordinances regarding street-cut permits are a routine practice that Tennessee American Water encounters," spokeswoman Laura Vinson said. "If this is what our customers in the city of Rossville are requesting, then we will certainly comply and work with city officials."

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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