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Construction work is underway in Gem Lakes extension. We’ll spare you the cliches, “It’s about time,” or “Finally!” in regard to the construction work that began on Wednesday on the Huron and Moultrie ......
|Description||Construction work is underway in Gem Lakes extension. We’ll spare you the cliches, “It’s about time,” or “Finally!” in regard to the construction work that began on Wednesday on the Huron and Moultrie drives in the Gem Lakes extenion community.
It’s begun, after more than seven years of haggling, negotiating, threatening of lawsuits, bad mouthing, accusations, plus a lot of frustration, and more than your share of tears. Gem Lakes residents see construction progress. They saw road work on Wednesday and Thursday before Hurricane (and now Tropical Storm) Hermine passed through town and interrupted work on Friday.
In January, the City and Gem Lakes extension developers, Todd Gaul and Steve Kisner, hammered out an agreement to share some of the cost of the road repairs, and earlier this summer, City Council tied off the final loose end in deciding what option of repair work to use and gave staff the go ahead to proceed.
Shovels have turned.
Gem Lakes extension isn’t just getting a pair of replacement roads, they’re getting good roads. These are roads designed to last for up to 50 years, with the City’s new pavement preservation program.
Mayor Rick Osbon said he was glad to see this chapter of the Gem Lakes saga be finally put to rest.
“We are glad for the residents that this issue has finally been resolved,” Osbon said. “The take away for the City has been a review of standards and adoption of proven testing measures for future roads.”
The new roads set a precedent for the City in that future roads will fall under the standards set by what is done to Huron and Moultrie drives, specifically when it comes to pavement preservation.
In June, City Manager John Klimm called Aiken’s new roads program a “simple pavement preservation program.”
And it begins with the work being completed in Gem Lakes extension.
“The key to the success of our roads program is to do preventive maintenance on road pavement,” he said. “We don’t wait until roads break down and then resurface them. This is a totally different program. What roads will we be working in the next 5 to 10 years? We’ll be working on all of them.”
The pavement preservation method of roads maintenance will extend the life of a road’s pavement to as much as 40 years beyond its normal 25 years with no preventative maintenance.
No preventative maintenance is what allowed the Huron and Moultrie roads situations to happen in the first place.
“The lack of a roads program over the years has put the City in the position it is in, left having to scramble to avoid a roads crisis situation,” Klimm said. “Our roads are an asset and you must maintain your assets.”
So, while avoiding cliches like “It’s about time,” and “Finally!”, it’s refreshing to see a roads project through to completion, and his is one open the City and Gem Lakes extension residents will gladly mark off their list.
If any of Aiken’s long standing projects epitomized the City’s study and analysis quagmire it is Gem Lakes extension. While not its longest running project, Gem Lakes was the City’s most passionate.
Residents cried foul, citing poor construction and quality-control testing shortcuts that missed obvious drainage and poor quality practices, and left Huron and Moultrie roads full of sinkholes. Residents threatened to sue.
But all this is in the past. Behind us.
To coin one last cliche, for Gem Lakes extension and residents of Huron and Moultrie drives, “Happy days are here again.”