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Downtown revitalization work moves to Railroad Street area

Downtown revitalization in Thomson has now begun along Railroad Street.

New construction work officially began in that section of downtown on Monday morning, according to Chris Powers and Charlie Newton, both of whom work with MFS Grading Company of Thomson.

Work along the busy street, located in one of the busiest parts of downtown, is expected to last about three weeks, said Mr. Newton, who also serves as chairman of the McDuffie County Board of Commissioners.

The work will involve the tearing out of existing sidewalks all along Railroad Street and placing existing electrical lines and telephone cables underground. In addition to those projects, new street lights also will be installed, Mr. Newton explained.

Parts of the overall project, all of which has been made possible through TE grants from the Georgia Department of Public Transportation, have created challenges for the local construction crew. However, Mr. Newton and Mr. Powers said they have received "excellent" cooperation from city officials and employees.

In turn, such cooperation has avoided change orders and saved the city potentially large sums of money, the construction officials said.

Some of the problems that have caused setbacks with the overall project thus far have included water lines, gas lines and manholes, Mr. Newton pointed out.

"We ran into several of the same type problems around First Avenue, where we first began this project." Mr. Newton said.

Work along First Avenue is nearly completed. Some of the sidewalks still aren't quite finished, but should be soon, construction officials said.

While work is ongoing along Railroad Street, employees and customers at some businesses may be forced to use side or rear entrances for a few days.

"We hope this part of the project doesn't take long and that we don't run into a lot of unexpected things," Mr. Newton said.

If construction crews do run into problems, such as ones related to the sidewalks, then wooden bridges may have to be built and laid down for a few days.

"We hope it doesn't come to that," Mr. Newton said. "But you never know."

Web posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007

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