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Springfield begins to make strides in Railroad Avenue project
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The city of Springfield is getting closer to starting work on a long-awaited project to help south Railroad Avenue residents.

City council members approved an agreement with Central of Georgia railroad to install, maintain, operate and remove about one-third of a mile of 8-inch sanitary sewer pipe in the railroad’s right-of-way. The city has to cross the rail line to extend its sewer lines to the Railroad Avenue neighborhood.

"It allows us to maintain lines within the right-of-way," City Manager Brett Bennett said.

The city, after falling short in its first attempt, was awarded a community development block grant of more than $359,000 to replace septic systems on South Railroad Avenue and Tunnel Road with sanitary sewer lines. About 20 homes are targeted to receive the improvements after residents complained of septic tanks backing up and failing in heavy rains.

The city also is awaiting results of title searches to identify needed rights-of-way that likely will need to be acquired. The grant administrator also is working on obtaining needed easements for the community development block grant.

"We are in the process of acquiring the right-of-way," Bennett said.

The city also has received a memorandum of understanding from the state Department of Transportation on phase 2 of its streetscape project. Once completed, the streetscape project, to include relocating utilities underground, will stretch from Second Street to Madison along Laurel Street.

The city also received a notice to proceed on engineering for phase 2, but Bennett said he was surprised to see the number of years the DOT had allotted to finish the work — 15.

"It could take two to three years to go through the process," he said.

The city entered into a memorandum of understanding earlier this year for a $300,000 federal transportation enhancement grant. The city funded the streetscape for one side of the street, eliminating much of the red tape that goes along with federal grants.

"You have to jump through a lot of hoops for TE funded projects," Bennett said.