Ocean View nears end of project

Ocean View citizens can expect estimated rates for the town-wide water project to appear within a month or so. The Ocean View Water Progress Construction Committee met Thursday, Dec. 6, to discuss the current condition of the construction.

“Everything’s basically finishing up in the first or second week of January,” said engineer Chuck Hauser of Davis, Bowen and Friedel.

At the end of last week, construction reached day 327 of the one-year contract, and billings were estimated around $5.2 million, accounting for 97.9 percent of the total projected cost.

“Schedule-wise,” Hauser said, “we know where we’re going once easements are up.”

With three of four remaining easements sent in, there is little holding back any remaining construction.

“We had one outstanding pending condemnation,” said Town Manager Conway Gregory, who clarified a slight tie-up with an easement along Tyler Drive. “But we have a change of order for time extension, so that should be getting under way rather quickly.”

During initial testing of the system, an issue did arise with chlorine levels in the town’s water, requiring the potential retest of a sample to be compared with Tidewater Utilities’ water. Tidewater questioned the validity of the initial bacteria test results.

“It’s just a process of getting in touch with the lab company,” said Hauser. “We may need to resample, we may not. Either way, it won’t delay any of the process.”

As December weather remains milder, construction crews will continue finishing up minor details within the town limits.

“We’re pretty much getting done everything we need to be,” added Scott Fowler of A.P. Croll & Son, Inc. “We’re continuing to put meters in and there’s some patching left to do. We want to come back at the same points and touch up on some seeding, too.”

Meter installation is expected to continue through late December, weather permitting.

“We don’t want to be running back in January,” Hauser said. “The meters should be up by the end of the month.” Construction will cease temporarily in observance of the holiday season between Dec. 22 and Jan. 2.

In terms of hook-ups throughout town, Ocean View is finalizing the purchase details for the Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCNs) from Tidewater Utilities. A rate structure containing the estimate that homeowners within town limits can expect to pay was sent to the Town of Ocean View, as well as Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader, and is set to be incorporated into Ocean View’s ordinance.

Homeowners can expect a contracted amount to be sent to them in the form of a letter, sometime around mid-January. Once that amount is declared, they will have one year from that date to have the water system connected to their properties.

Citizens are also being reminded to take caution as construction continues throughout town. Millville Fire Company Volunteer Mark Nicholson approached the committee with a complaint of damage done to his personal vehicle as a result of a pothole within a construction zone.

Gregory, however, said the Town of Ocean View shares no responsibility for negligence and is not legally bound in the matter. Little was resolved on the issue last week as Fowler explained that such damage is a matter to be taken up with Nicholson’s insurer. A police report was not filed and no financial settlement was reached, as the repair estimates included the replacement of “worn parts” on the vehicle.

Councilman and committee member Bill Wichmann called Nicholson’s concern “legitimate” and suggested that further analysis go into damages done specifically from the pothole. Fowler said A.P. Croll will work with Nicholson as closely as possible once a claim is entered with insurance.

The next water construction progress meeting will be held at the Town Hall, located at 32 West Avenue, on Thursday, Jan. 10, at 1 p.m.