State OKs Florala street project

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 15, 2010

Permits for the Florala Utilities Board’s “main street” project were approved Tuesday by the state Department of Transportation.

The $485,000 project, which was announced last October, was called the “best investment in Florala in a long time” and will move water and sewerage 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 Piggly Wiggly.

The nearly $500,000 venture is a “cash” project for the board, meaning no grant money or loans will be used to cover the cost.

Construction was scheduled to begin in January; however, the project was on hold, awaiting DOT permit approval on state-requested design changes that would have doubled the construction price.

Utilities chairman Marvin Williford said Wednesday, the project cost will remain the same, and the next step in the process is to let the project for bids.

“We’re hoping that will be done in the coming days and eventually get started (on construction) in late August or September,” Williford said. “It just depends on how quick we can get it awarded and how soon the contractor can get to it.”

Williford said the benefit of the project is two-fold.

“Aside from getting new lines, which will stop the leaks in the middle of the road and give us more time to work on the smaller side street (water and sewer) projects, DOT has assured us that just as soon as we’re finished, Main Street will be repaved.”

Williford said the pipe system under the street is at least 100 years old.

“It’s more than time to get some upgrades done,” he said.

In May, Williford said the project also calls for new sidewalks near the Tom Thumb convenience store and the Big R restaurant.