Why are newly-paved Memphis streets being torn up by work crews?

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – The city is spending more than $19 million of your money to repave streets. In one case, the pavement hadn’t even cooled off before it was torn up by work crews.

Philadelphia Street in Cooper-Young. The city did a repaving job here last week and made it as smooth as can be. Just a few days later, guys came in and tore it all up.

This is one of those – “Hello left hand? This is right hand. What are you doing?” moments.

Memphis Light, Gas and Water officials say this sewer work is a city-ordered job. That is a surprise to Memphis Public Works Director Robert Knecht.

“We communicate that to all of our utility partners,” he says, “… to let them know what we will be doing for the coming year in resurfacing. That way, they can plan all of their maintenance work in advance. Historically, that’s worked well.”

Maybe the system is supposed to work, but it didn’t. Memphis Light, Gas and Water has a statement saying they are working at the city’s request.

“I don’t have all the answers,” Knecht says. “I just learned about this yesterday afternoon. I’m trying to get all the information.”

We talked with some folks who live on Philadelphia Street. They didn’t want to talk on camera, but told Local 24 news the repaving issue wasn’t their biggest concern. Their water had been shut off to do sewer work. That’s what bugged them.

And yes, Knecht says there have been times when new pavement had to be torn up before.

He says, “Most situations where we have had utility companies cut up a newly resurfaced street, there was an emergency repair that had to be done. It was unknown, unforeseen, and that led to the need. I can acknowledge that its very unfortunate. No one wants that.”

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