PICKENS—Road work at the new Pickens High School site has taken longer than expected, and anticipation is beginning to grow.
Pickens County School Board Chairman Alex Saitta recently raised concerns that the road work was taking too long, and questioned whether it would even be done by the beginning of the school year.
“I don’t know if there’s anybody to blame, but there is some blame there,” said Saitta. “Whether it be the school system, the contractor, the SCDOT, or the utility company; it is spread all around. A project like that should not take nine months and counting.”
After a long struggle with transferring utilities from the old site to the new site, officials say the project is back underway.
“It has recommenced,” said Bob Folkman, Building Program Administrator. “We finally got AT&T out of the way. Total working time would be about three weeks to complete pending weather.”
Folkman says there is still quite a bit of work to be done.
“We have grading and storm drainage to do,” said Folkman. “(We’re still working on) Traffic control, paving, traffic lights, and all the controls and posts. We anticipate a completion date between July, 15 and August, 1.”
While Saitta says he believes the project has been drawn out, there was laundry list of things that needed to be done in the beginning.
“They had to do a bunch of things,” said Saitta. “They had to take up telephone poles, and underground wires. Then SCDOT (South Carolina Department of Transportation) has to approve everything and you have those issues with the asphalt company, and honestly it has been (going) since September.”
Keeping the complications with AT&T in mind, Folkman says he understands why the project was delayed.
“Being on the private sector for 39 years, I am as frustrated as you, but I also understand that these workers are running a company and (management) has to generate income to keep this business afloat,” said Folkman. “They cannot continue a start-stop operation, and Pickens is a great example.
Still, several other construction projects have seen completion during this span of time.
“In just a few months, right there, they built a Wendy’s and a Stop-a-Minute top to bottom.” said Saitta. “We should have done that quicker. That was not one of our brighter moments, but I’m hoping in the next few weeks we’ll get it done.”
All worries aside, hopes are that the road work will be finished in a matter of weeks not months.
“The utility company is assuring us all their work is done. The contractor is saying the remaining curb and gutter will go in and the road will be resurfaced in 3 weeks. At this point, I’m hoping it is done by the start of school,” said Saitta. “What a headache.”