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June 17, 2014

County OKs next courthouse phase

— The Limestone County Commission Monday unanimously approved what will be the most intensive phase of the ongoing renovations to the Limestone County Courthouse.

Phase II of the project, estimated to cost $899,000, was awarded to Huntsville-based Garber Construction Company.

Brian Moore of Martin and Cobey Construction, the company managing the renovation project, described the next phase as “the scariest part of the renovation” because it involves extensive demolition of walls. He also described Garber Construction Company’s bid to do the work as “a good price.”

Moore said in order to add more courtroom space to the second floor of the building, walls would have to come down. He said, however, the walls would come down in phases and not be done all at once to avoid destabilizing the building.

“We’ll be cutting footings on the first floor and (there will be) temporary shoring while we tear out the walls,” Moore said, adding that the courthouse is a “pretty stout” building. “This is the dusty work. … Once this part is over, the rest is a pretty simple renovation project.”

In addition to the wall removal, the next phase will also include the installation of two new stairwells. Moore said installing a new elevator would happen in the next phase of the project.

“It’s been a long and scary project with me,” said Commission Chairman Stanley Menefee. “I was worried we’d remove one of the walls and the rest of them would fall down. I feel confident all those things have been looked at and that fear has been put away.”

Moore said he expected workers from Garber to begin work on this phase within two to three weeks. Garber has 120 days to complete the project, he said.

“The hardest thing will be the debris removal, because everything has to be carried out by hand,” he said.

Elsewhere in the meeting, Menefee said the final pass for debris collection related to the April 28 tornado would begin June 23. County officials wanted to stress that only debris from the April 28 tornado would be collected and not any debris related to the recent thunderstorms that affected portions of East Limestone.

In other business, the commission:

• Approved an agreement with Limestone County Water & Sewer Authority for the relocation of water lines at Fielding Bridge Road over Coxey Creek. The project amount will be $29,021.18, though 80 percent of that will be reimbursed from Federal Aid Bridge Replacement Funds;

• Approved an agreement with Limestone County Water & Sewer Authority for the relocation of water lines at the Lucas Ferry Road bridge over Mud Creek. The project amount will be $12,471.56, though 80 percent of that will be reimbursed from Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP) funds;

• Approved an agreement with Limestone County Water & Sewer Authority for the relocation of water lines at Ragsdale Creek Road bridge over Ragsdale Creek (two bridges). The project amount will be $57,997.36, though 80 percent of that will be reimbursed from Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP) funds;

• Approved changing the speed limit on Holt Road to 25 miles per hour;

• Approved a $9,000 request from the county’s information technology department to cover existing maintenance contract renewals for line item 235 (R&M Computer Equipment).

The commission will meet again at 10 a.m. on July 2 for a work session.

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