City to conduct sewer line replacement project

By HASKEL BURNS,

Almost a half-million dollars that was originally earmarked for a wastewater treatment facility in Hattiesburg will now be used for a major sewer project that will repair or replace much of the sewer line on Tuscan Avenue, along with approximately one block of sewer line on Penton Street.

During a recent news conference at the intersection of Tuscan Avenue and William Carey Parkway, Mayor Toby Barker said because the treatment facility is no longer needed, as the lagoons are functioning properly within permit levels from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, $415,886.73 can now be allocated toward the sewer project.

“We continue to take steps to address infrastructure across our city, especially to ensure that every neighborhood sees progress,” Barker said. “We know the damage that this road and the surrounding neighborhoods saw during the (January 2017) tornado, and we also know the impact of all the heavy equipment on Tuscan as a result of the $100 million-plus of rebuilding at William Carey University.

“This is an important day in the neighborhood.”

Several years ago, the existing concrete line from Martin Luther King Avenue to Penton Street was replaced with a PVC line. But in 2015, the Tuscan Avenue Line was investigated by robotic closed-circuit television cameras, which showed the areas outside of that section suffered various levels of structural defects.

In the summer of 2018, additional imaging discovered cracks and misaligned joints, which can allow stormwater to enter the system and lead to structural problems.

The section of the Tuscan Avenue Line from Penton Street to Cedar Street was then found to be eligible for Cured In-Place Pipe, a process that lines the concrete pipe with an epoxy resin liner which will seal the noted defects. That measure, which is already complete, is expected to increase the lifespan of the line by 30-40 years.

“However, there was a third section of the Tuscan sewer line – one that goes from Cedar to east past Edwards Street – which was found to have several structural deficits where the road would need to be cut open, the existing line dug up, and a new PVC pipeline installed in its place,” Barker said. “After installing the new pipe and allowing sewer trench to settle … the entire Tuscan Avenue will be repaved.

“Being proactive in taking care of the sewer line underneath Tuscan Avenue before we pave the actual road will ensure the long-term quality of this important thoroughfare.”

Work, which will be handled by Jay Bearden Construction, is expected to begin in the coming days and weeks. Residents in the area will receive letters this week regarding timelines and frequently asked questions about the project.

Officials hope the project will be finished by the end of this year or early next year.

“I am just delighted that we are moving forward with the infrastructure needed in Twin Forks Rising,” Ward 2 Councilwoman Deborah Delgado said. “I’m so happy to see us taking this important step to get this area around the university to where it needs to be.

“I ask the residents in the area to bear with us as we advance toward our goal of being a modern community.”

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