Gillionville Project impacting WG&L manpower

ALBANY, Ga. -- WG&L officials say that a Gillionville Road widening project is having a "tremendous impact," on the utility's manpower but despite the need, overtime figures are minimal.

WG&L's Operations Manager Steve Goodin told board members Thursday that much of the work the utility will have to perform has been done, including the relocation of thousands of feet of water mains and cable lines.

The Gillionville project, which has been funded through the use of stimulus dollars granted by federal authorities and then allocated by the Georgia Department of Transportation for use on the project, called for utility to relocate roughly 8,700 feet of water mains and and 26,000 feet of cable routed in 8,700 feet of trenching along the proposed widening path.

Goodin said that the Light Department is about 4,000 feet into the trenching process while the water department has put down about 8,000 feet of pipe, with 700 feet left to go.

WG&L will also have to bore under an existing creek to install lines, but will have to wait until the contractor sets the pylons for a temporary bridge.

"The last thing we want is to run the risk of laying those lines down and having them put the pylons on top of them," Goodin said.

When asked about the effect the project is having on WG&L resources by Albany Mayor and WG&L Chairman Willie Adams, Goodin said called it "tremendous," but said a temporary lull in other areas has helped.

"There has been a tremendous impact on manpower," he said. "We have two water crews per day out there working, but, thankfully, things have slowed down a bit so it hasn't been that tough of an issue."

Goodin said that as a result of that, there has been very little overtime generated by the project so far.

Goodin also provided a debriefing of a March 15 car crash near the intersection of North Westover Boulevard and Old Dawson Road during which a light pole was destroyed and had to be replaced.

According to police, Allan McIntyre went airborne in his pickup truck while traveling through the intersection, striking several cars and the pole after losing control in what is believed to have been a medical incident.

Goodin said that, through the hard work of WG&L engineers and linemen, the pole, which belonged to Georgia Power, was replaced by WG&L and erected with all the attachments and lines in a matter of hours.

Goodin said quick-thinking by WG&L employees who immediately began altering circuits and trying to reroute electricity flowing through the 21,000-volt lines around the intersection contributed to no additional injuries or loss of power to customers in the area.

Additionally, Goodin said that the GDOT had approached WG&L for a cost estimate on how much the utility would charge GDOT to move a 2-million-gallon water tank that currently sits on property near Clark Avenue and the Miller-Coors Brewery ahead of a planned widening of that road between Cordele Road and the Liberty Expressway.

The cost, Goodin said, is believed to be $4 million-$5 million.

That road widening project is still in the early planning stages and is listed on the GDOT's long-range plan. It is estimated that it would be roughly five years before construction begins.

Goodin, who also oversees the Safety and Loss Department, said that changes to the existing workers' compensation plan are expected to save the utility $500,000 by the end of the fiscal year.

New emphasis has also been placed on the agency's overtime use and, in response, a two-man shift has been created to deal with peak-time issues that would ordinarily require the use of off-duty personnel.