According to engineer Chuck Hauser, with Davis, Bowen and Friedel, contract status on the town’s central water project has just passed the midway point, as the project reached 198 days of progress last Wednesday, Aug. 1.
“Essentially, we’re at a holding pattern on most areas when we get back on Central and [Route] 26. Right now, crews are still working in Ocean Mist.”
Two condemnation proceedings will take place this month, concerning easements along Central and Route 26. The acquirement of a third easement, still pending, may be resolved before condemnation.
One of the only other concerns at the time of the more recent meeting was obtaining the water service agreement, a document reviewed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Tidewater Utilities, Inc.
“We’re still bogged down with the agreement,” said town manager Conway Gregory. “There’s still no headway on that, and once we get that, before we can do anything, we have to get a CPCN (Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity).”
Time is needed for public posting for the CPCN, but once it is obtained, the town can begin water system hook-ups for residences that have completed construction. Those connections could take place as early as October.
“At this moment in time,” said Gregory, “it sits at October. It’s subject to change at a moment’s notice, but I don’t see it taking any longer that that.”
“Prior to the system being completed, water lines to the meters will have to be flushed,” said project committee member Chris Beckman, advising that the early hook-up is favorable to the contactors, as well. “It could cause a potential problem with bacteria if we let the lines sit there for three or four months without flushing them. I’d like to talk to Tidewater to see if we could activate the system as soon as we can.”
As for restoration work, Beckman said that there will likely be overseeding in the fall to touch up the dried-out, grassy areas that have been affected by construction. “We’re moving in to take care of ruts, too,” he added.
Construction is expected to pick up more strongly following Labor Day, with the departure of summer crowds and traffic. “We’re still going to hit a lot of traffic in September,” Beckman said. “We ought to be back out on [Route] 26 on the 4th.”
Hauser said he is wary of how the busy roads will encumber further construction in town. “It will be interesting to see what happens,” he said. “We’ll make it as painless as we can.”
Since the start of the project, Gregory has said he has been very pleased with the progress and professionalism of the contractors and construction crews. “We’ve had a very good working relationship with A.P. Croll. I’ve been very pleased with the work they’ve done and the progress they’ve made.”
“They’ve always been responsive,” added Ocean View administrative official and public works supervisor Charlie McMullen. “We’ve had very minimal complaints – but the few we had, they were addressed immediately.”
The next water construction progress meeting will be held on Thursday, Sept. 6, at 1 p.m. in the Town Hall, located at 32 West Avenue.