Inman bridge options eyed
by RICK NORTON, Associate Editor
Mar 01, 2013 | 1239 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bart Borden
Bart Borden
During an hour of department reports telling of construction plans, project updates, information system modernization strategies and financial analyses, a low-profile initiative may have earned arguably the highest interest Thursday among members of the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities.

The announcement came from Bart Borden, vice president of the CU Electric Division who routinely delivers traffic-related news as well as udpates from the electric side of the public utility.

According to Borden’s update, modern technology may be stepping up to help alleviate one of the downtown area’s biggest traffic headaches — the low-hanging Inman Street railroad bridge which has a longstanding record for entrapping high-rise vehicles, leading to lengthy congestion delays.

“Our traffic signal coordinator (Tad Bacon) has prepared a design for the Inman Street railroad bridge,” Borden told board members during the governing body’s formal monthly session. “The system [will] auto-detect the height of vehicles that are taller than the clearance available and [will] initiate rapid-flashing LED lights on the bridge structure.”

Borden added, “This lighting would be additional warning to the slower alternating signal lights that are mounted on the structure.”

Currently, the Cleveland Department of Public Works is evaluating the proposed system, the Electric Division leader explained. He added that Public Works representatives are also looking at other alternatives “... to determine the best and most economical solution to warn traffic of insufficient clearance.”

Borden offered no preliminary cost estimates nor timetables. For now, the concept is simply a CU design in the hands of Public Works reviewers. If Public Works clears the idea — provided it’s effective — the automated system would help to keep the treacherous underpass free of topped out trucks and other high-rise vehicles whose drivers either overestimate the allowed clearance, underestimate the height of their rigs or who simply aren’t familiar with the area nor its vertical limits.

In a pair of additional traffic lighting updates:

- Borden reported traffic signals have been converted to LED fixtures at First Street and Ocoee St. N.E.

- The traffic signal coordinator has reviewed the final traffic signal plans for three intersections: Highway 64 at Durkee Road, Benton Pike at Durkee Road and Benton Pike at Michigan Avenue Road. The Tennessee Department of Transportation will utilize the design plans to request bids for construction. Borden said the plans include a fiber interconnect to communicate with the Traffic Operations Center.

Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland, who not only sits on the City Council but also on the CU board representing the municipality, complimented Borden and the utility’s traffic signal coordinator who are working with professional consultants to improve traffic flow throughout the city.

“We’re working hard on it, mayor,” Borden said. “We’re seeing some improvements.”

In January 2011, Cleveland Utilities accepted ownership of the city’s traffic signalization network at the request of the City Council.

In other actions, the utility board:

- Approved a final change order with Morgan Contracting Inc. for an increase in the contract amount of a massive waterline project by $194,951.60. The change increases the contract amount from $2,711,858 to $2,906,809.60. The completion of the project will extend a new 20-inch water line from the Eldridge Tank located off Blue Springs Road around APD 40 and ends at Benton Pike N.E. The increase will be paid by a delay in a Fiscal Year 2013 budgeted project, according to CU President and CEO Tom Wheeler, and Craig T. Mullinax, vice president of the CU Water Division. The increase is related to revised plans by TDOT which is providing right of way for the utility project, according to CU’s Phillip Luce.

- Approved a purchase order with Roy Joe Angel Construction in the amount of $11,578.31 for additional work items as part of the Chatata Creek Pump Station Improvements Project. The first purchase order with the construction company totaled $160,000; this final payment completes the project.

- Approved a purchase order with Hampton Backhoe Services LLC in the amount of $102,854 for the installation of 3,265 lineal feet of 6-inch water line. The new line replaces existing galvanized water lines along 17th Street, 18th Street, 20th Street, Ohio Avenue and Everhart Drive N.W. The project is budgeted for FY 2013.

- Approved a contract with Pointe General Contractors in the amount of $93,000 for the renovation of the second floor of the Cleveland Filter Plant. The renovation is budgeted for FY 2013.

- Approved a new Customer Data Virtualization Project which involves hardware for CU’s customer information systems. This includes billing and other customer account information, according to CU’s Walt Vineyard. The IT leader said the new virtualization project will prevent system redundancies and will aid in restoration in times of system outage. The virtualization project will allow CU to run multiple systems on the same hardware. Vineyard projected a system lifespan of about five to seven years.

- CU board members confirmed the dates of their next two meetings. The board will hold a called session on Thursday, March 21, at 11 a.m. to consider budget needs for 2013-14 in preparation for the Cleveland City Council’s budget retreat on March 25. The CU board’s next regularly scheduled session will be Thursday, March 28, at 3 p.m. Both board gatherings will be held in the Tom Wheeler Training Center.