Starkville Utilities Department GIS Coordinator Andrew Nagel, left, looks over a map of the Pleasant Acres neighborhood with residents Chris Eady, Fern Strahan and Cherry Denson after a Tuesday evening meeting at the Starkville Church of God. The meeting focused on the upcoming infrastructure work planned for the neighborhood. Photo by: Alex Holloway/Dispatch Staff
August 15, 2018 10:38:54 AM
The city of Starkville is ramping up to begin the first phase of a major infrastructure project and city officials met with residents of the Pleasant Acres neighborhood Tuesday evening to discuss the upcoming work.
Starkville is preparing to begin replacing aging water and sewer infrastructure in several areas of Starkville. The city is first targeting Pleasant Acres, which has seen the greatest need, by volume of repair work, to have its water and sewage infrastructure replaced.
Work on Pleasant Acres will cost about $600,000 and will include an estimated 7,000 feet of eight-inch water main lines and 9,800 feet of eight-inch gravity main sewer lines.
At Tuesday's meeting, where a few dozen Pleasant Acres residents turned out at the Starkville Church of God, officials laid out some details of how they expect the project to go.
Jacob Forrester, assistant manager of Starkville Utilities Department, said work is expected to begin between Oct. 1 and 15. He also noted that work could begin on the west side of the neighborhood, but the contractor will have some leeway deciding where to start.
"That depends on the bids and when they come in," Forrester said. "We're expecting the bids to come in around the first week of September, and then we'll move toward awarding the construction project to the successful bidder and start construction just as soon as we can in October."
Forrester said work is expected to finish by the end of January, and the contract will include a 1-year warranty on the work to call the contractor back out to fix issues if any problems arise.
"There will be ground disturbance," Forrester said. "... Will it disturb anything? Absolutely it will. But the goal is going to be to keep it as minimally invasive as possible and to build the product, get a successful product and on the back-end you have a more dependable way to receive your service."
To questions from several residents, Forrester said the utilities department will require the contractor to replace broken pavement from the work with matching pavement. He also said the contractor will put down a rye grass once work in yards is finished, and when it dies off replace the grass with whatever was there before. For most homes, he said, that will likely be St. Augustine grass.
Forrester also said the city is planning to lay the mains first, then connect residents to the new service as quickly as possible.
Starkville leaders have recently focused on replacing the aging water and sewer infrastructure in several parts of the city. An original map of Pleasant Acres' water infrastructure, which Forrester showed during Tuesday's meeting, was dated 1954.
"That's been 64 years ago," he said. "It's lived its useful life."
Forrester said many of the older lines were four- and six-inch lines. He said the city will be replacing the aging metal pipes with PVC pipes that are eight-, 10- and 12-inch lines to increase capacity. He said the city will also, whenever possible, move the lines closer to the street to increase ease of access for service.
Several residents said after the meeting that they were impressed with Starkville Utilities Department's Plans and with its efforts share information.
"I thought it was very informative and they answered everyone's questions in a satisfactory way," said neighborhood resident Bob Boyd. "It's just one of those things where we'll have to see how it develops. It looks like the planning has been very well done and they know exactly what they're going to do. We'll just see what the execution is like."
Harriet Rooks, another resident, said she also found the meeting helpful. Rooks has lived in Pleasant Acres for eight years, and she said she's noticed a definite need for infrastructure upgrades in that time.
"They're probably tired of hearing me call the office," she said. "We've just had trouble with the sewage coming up through the manhole. I haven't had that trouble since January but it happens."
Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker, who represents Pleasant Acres, said he was very pleased with the turnout at Tuesday's meeting.
"With a project of this scale and magnitude, there's going to be some hiccups and the open lines of communication so everyone is aware of what's going on is absolutely going to be the goal of Starkville Utilities and the board and mayor to try to make sure everyone's included in the loop all the way through the project," he said.
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.
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