Utilities board looks at River Falls plan

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, February 25, 2009

If Andalusia’s efforts to secure stimulus funding to improve River Falls Street are successful, the city’s Utilities Board will have some major work to do, too.

Tuesday, Tim Ramsden of CDG Engineers and Associates, outlined the proposed project to board members.

“We’ve been looking at this project for about two years,” Ramsden said. “The council recently approved CDG to engineer about $3.5 million of construction.”

Ramsden said the plan is to rehab the whole street, including demolishing some portions to begin again with a new base. The result will be two 12-foot lanes with curbs, gutters and decorative lighting, he said.

Ramsden said the project, which also will address stormwater drainage, will require moving some water and sewerage lines. CDG will complete all of the engineering except for the electrical lines, Ramsden said.

Mayor Earl Johnson, who chairs the utilities board, said the city has received assurance that the state could fund the project with stimulus money if an approved plan is in place within 120 days of the stimulus approval, which was signed last week.

“Most municipalities don’t have plans on the shelf,” Johnson said. “The state of Alabama does. They would very much like to see nobody apply for this money.”

Ramsden said CDG plans to submit its River Falls Street plan in mid-March and expects to have a final plan approved in May.

“In that case, we could bid this project at the start of June and hope to break ground in August,” Ramsden said.

The issue for the utilities board, he said, is power and where it goes. Possible options include putting it underground or providing power access from the rear of River Falls Streets lots. Because CDG does not do electrical engineering work, Ramsden recommended that the utilities board bring an electrical engineering consultant on board to work with them on the project.

The board authorized Johnson, on his recommendation, to request a proposal for the work from Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, which has an office in Andalusia.

“I’ve talked to them and they can get on the fast track with this,” Johnson said. “They’ve got the staff to get it done in our timeframe.”