Work crews can be easily identified throughout the city as contractors have settled in for extensive infrastructure improvement projects.
In an effort to upgrade and update water and sewer lines, the city is spending millions of dollars as it tackles the same problems other municipalities across the state face. During the Ardmore Public Works Authority meeting Monday evening, the trustees approved an engineering services contract for upcoming projects. The streets listed on the agreement were:
• Stanley Street SW from Commerce Street to South Washington Street
• C Street SW from Drew Street to Stanley Street SW
• F Street NW from Drew Street SW to Pettit Street SW
• Mid-block east of Sunset Drive SW from Hollingsworth Drive to Myall Road
• Isabell Street from Drew Street SW to Myall Road
• I Avenue SW from McLish Street SW to West Broadway Street
• Mill Street from 1st Avenue SE to East Main Street
• Scott Street SW from McLish Street SW to Bixby Street SW
• Caddo Street NE (A Street NE) from East Main Street to East Broadway Street
The project is estimated to cost the city $3.2 million, and work will begin once the funding is available. Some of the items have been combined because of location and will be done in segments. One example is work on Stanley Street from Sunset Drive to Commerce Street to break up the work and provide more convenience for both contractors and motorists.
One issue at which the city is looking in terms of being able to work on the streets is another project, which is pressing because of Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality concerns. The Ardmore Airpark must have sewer upgrades, and the solution is building a pipeline from the airpark to tie onto the city line. It will cost $3 million and will come from the city budget. So even with plans in the process of being formulated, the pipeline project could take precedence and funding over other city projects until it is completed.
“We may have to slide the others back,” said Shawn Geurin, director of utilities. “The sewer line will be 10 miles and will be carry 30,000 to 50,000 gallons of sewer a day. In comparison, the city currently has 3.2 million gallons of sewer coming in each day. The line will be an 8-inch forced main.”
But as the city sets the foundation to begin working on those projects, other projects for this fiscal year are well under way, as evidenced by crews working around the city. On Wolverton Street, crews are replacing a 10-inch sewer line and will then proceed to replace 14-inch water line. The project includes manholes, and started on March 14 with an expected completion date for next week on a 1,600- to 1,700-foot project.
“We are probably doing more now then we have ever done,” Geurin said. “We have gotten into a pattern of design one year and construction the next year. In some of the projects, we are trying to stay ahead of the street department and, in some, we are getting the engineering.”
Geurin said the focus is on lines, which are in poor shape. Those lines were put in as many as 50 years ago, he said.
As the city lays the groundwork with engineering for the next fiscal year projects, is it concurrently working on other projects, which were listed on last year’s budget. Those include:
• P Street SW from McLish Street to 3rd Avenue SW
• N Street SW from Bixby to Stanley Street SW
• 5th Avenue NW from B Street NW to E Street NW
• 4th Avenue NW from C Street NW TO E Street NW
• 4th Avenue NW from E Street NW to F Street NW
• F Street NW from Grand Avenue to 8th Avenue NW
• H Street NW from 6th Avenue NW to 8th Avenue NW
The first phase of the Stanley project is listed, as well as the completed project on Broadway from Washington to E Street NW.
Contractor John Miller said the city is as busy with activity as it ever has been. And those projects are expected to extend into the immediate future with lines of pipe in need of repair and replacement. To conduct a project, Miller said it takes as many as six different contractors, one of which has been busy near Myall clearing out lines using robots. In some instances, Miller said the line needs to be cleared from roots, and in others, more extensive work is needed.
Miller credited interim city engineer Tom Mansur for the increased activity taking place to fix ongoing issues and provide better service for water and sewer customers.
And it is all part of a story that will be ongoing, as the city will continue to set aside funds for infrastructure. And it will not be cheap, necessitating a step-by-step approach each fiscal year.
“We ask for what projects we have going on, and are happy with what we get,” Geurin said.