Florala’s Main Street project on hold

Published 2:08 am Friday, May 14, 2010

Florala’s “Main Street Project” is on hold until a design change can be approved by the state, utilities board chairman Marvin Williford said Thursday.
The $485,000 project, which was announced last year, has been called the “best investment in Florala in a long time” and will move water and sewer pipes from the middle of Fifth Avenue and install new ones on the road’s right-of-ways from the Mastar building to the water tower near the Piggly Wiggly.

Previously, board members had hoped construction would begin in January; however,  “The state (Department of Transportation) has a rule that says the pipes must be in steel casings,” Williford said.

“For us to do that, it would cost twice as much as what the project is set at now, and we can’t do that,” he said. The nearly $500,000 project is being funded solely by the utility board with no grants or loan money.

Williford said project engineers have come up with a plan he hopes the state will soon approve.

“We’ve purchased a new boring machine, which means there will be no damaging up of the streets,” he said. “We’ll go under them instead, and the only streets we’ll have to cross is Fourth Street, Fifth Street and from the Tom Thumb up Hwy. 85 300 feet.”

He said the project also calls for new sidewalks near the convenience store and the Big R restaurant.
Williford said if the new plan is approved, work could begin as early as the week after Labor Day.

“We knew going into this project that there would be a lot of traffic on our roads before then, so it only made sense to wait – after all, we’ve waited this long,” he said. “And once work starts, you won’t see people out in the middle of the street working either. We’ll be along sides.”

Once begun, the project should be completed within three months “weather permitting,” Williford said.

“The plans have been submitted to the state,” he said. “Now, we’re just waiting.”