By Bobby Bordelon
Missing sections of 10-year-old water lines, the canvas of the recent election, progress on a sewer line passing under the train tracks, and more were considered by the Ronceverte City Council on Monday, June 7.
E.L. Robinson Engineer Bob Hazelwood explained the need for more line installation than was expected for the downtown water infrastructure project.
“We had some additional lines we needed to install [on Maple Street],” Hazelwood said. “We intended to connect to what was supposed to be a pretty new line that was only ten years old. Supposedly it was constructed during the last project, … but we didn’t find that to be the case. There is a 200 foot section, Main Street to Edgar Avenue, that we need to add a few lines to the contract. … Our goal is to abandon the lines on Main Street, Edgar Street, and all the streets in between. We didn’t want to leave in an old line right there in the middle of all of the other brand new lines. There are two whole lines down Maple Street, there’s a cast iron line and also a concrete line as well. We didn’t want to reconnect to either one of those.”
Council approved a change order to Pro Contracting, totaling $46,429.37, to pay for the unexpected new line installation. After a question, Hazelwood noted this was not a one time occurrence.
“Unfortunately we’re finding several places of lines that were shown to be built in 2010, in that project, and we’re not finding that to be the case,” Hazelwood said. “They kind of skipped and jumped, a little here, a little there, and somewhere along the lines, somethings were shown as being constructed that we’re finding not to be the case. … We’re finding multiple lines everywhere we go. There’s at least two water lines –
“Three or four,” interjected Steve Williams with the city’s water department.
“The previous project didn’t make much headway in abandoning lines,” Hazelwood said.
“They didn’t fill them up [or abandon them] once they laid the line,” Williams agreed. “So all four are live when only one should be.”
“They constructed a new line in 2010, but they didn’t switch all services over to the new line,” Hazelwood agreed. “The services are still going to the old line.”
Despite this, the project is making progress.
“The upgrade project … is about 19 or 20 percent complete,” Hazelwood said. “The other project, the work mostly in town on the main streets, by Pro Contracting, is about 50 percent complete. As far as actual water lines, they’re about 90 percent complete. The rest of the contract would be the meter setters and all the pavement repairs. … They’re making really good progress on the contract.”
In other business:
– City Council met with the board of canvas for the recent election, approving the results. In addition to the votes previously announced, 16 provisional ballots were also considered. Of the provisional ballots, some were thrown out because the voter did not live within city limits. Council approved the results, which will be final after the 48 hour period during which someone can call for a recount. The provisional ballots did change the final number of votes for each candidate, but did not affect the results of the election.
– Council celebrated the resumed work on a critical sewer line that passes under the train tracks. Due to unneeded pipe size difference, the pipe has been a huge throttle for the system. Council celebrated the sewer department getting the needed parts in with a round of applause. Williams explained, on their behalf, that the team “got the bore in, they’re laying the pipe now to the parking lot to Southern Estates. The big, expensive head … got them through the rock, no problem. Then they got into soft dirt and it wouldn’t do it. … Those guys dug, by hand, through a 36 inch pipe, for five or seven days. They had a homemade wheelbarrow … putting [the dirt] out with a cable. … They’re halfway in the parking lot now.”
– Council approved a cable lease agreement with Shentel for the city, with many of the modifications to the contract spearheaded by former Councilmember Adam Rosin. The agreement is a five-year plan, but began in 2019, meaning there are three years until it expires.
– Patty Dillon was reconfirmed to another term on the Ronceverte Library Board. Councilmember Cherie Davis abstained from the unanimous approval due to her position with the library.
– A bank account for American Rescue Plan funds expected by the city was created, with Councilmember Kathy King abstaining from voting due to her position at the bank.