Utility crews launch project
by RICK NORTON, Associate Editor
Mar 11, 2013 | 1233 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Cleveland Utilities crews and contractors in both the Electric and Water divisions continue to move ahead with a project to relocate lines, poles and other equipment to clear the way for a long-awaited Tennessee Department of Transportation initiative to widen sections of Benton Pike and Durkee Road.

Both busy thoroughfares service the new 1.4-million-square-foot Whirlpool Cleveland Division manufacturing plant and Factory Distribution Center, both of which eventually will house more than 1,500 workers.

Currently, Whirlpool is transitioning its assembly operations from the old manufacturing site on King Edward Avenue. The move is expected to be completed later this year. Originally, Whirlpool had hoped to have all assembly operations in the new $200 million facility by mid-2013; however, heavy customer demand for certain models of its premium cooking products is forcing the company to focus on production while slowing its pace on relocation.

In the meantime, CU divisions are working feverishly to clear a path for the TDOT project.

Benton Pike and Durkee Road already carried a heavy load of traffic. With the opening of the Whirlpool plant, and the potential for other area developments in the future, the road congestion is expected to worsen, signaling the need for more lanes.

In a recent report to the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities, Water Division Vice President Craig T. Mullinax said Morgan Contracting Inc. crews are ready to start the relocation of water lines.

“They are getting ready to get started on the relocation of these lines,” Mullinax said.

It’s a major, and a costly, project whose expense will be absorbed by Cleveland Utilities, an agreement that was previously negotiated in early talks between local government and economic development leaders, CU, TDOT and Whirlpool.

The water line relocation will include 1,900 feet of 20-inch water main, 4,310 feet of 8-inch line and 1,215 feet of 6-inch water line.

Although the Morgan Contracting bid of $390,002 was the lowest in a field of submissions, it still almost doubled the $200,000 that CU had budgeted. The disparity is because CU’s original budget projection did not account for the full scope of the amount of water line that would have to be relocated, according to Tom Wheeler, CU president and CEO.

Three other contractors submitted line relocation bids, including Hampton Backhoe Service, $427,995.52; Roy Joe Angel Construction, $429,575; and Mayse Construction Co., $440,604.15.

Last month, the utility board approved a staff recommendation to award the bid to Morgan. Wheeler and Mullinax pointed out another scheduled Water Division project will be delayed (the construction of a new Georgetown Road water tank) in order to keep the water line relocations within the division’s budget.

As the Water Division prepares to launch its line relocation project, the Electric Division is following suit with transmission lines and poles; at least, on Benton Pike. The division’s relocation work on Durkee Road is facing a delay due to a land easement.

In a recent utility board session, Electric Division Vice President Bart Borden provided a project update.

“A work order was issued to relocate six poles on Benton Pike for the TDOT road-widening project,” Borden said. “The Durkee Road line relocation is still being delayed by a single required easement due to legal issues with the property title.”

Officials are working to resolve the lone remaining issue in order to make way for the TDOT project.

In other Water Division reports at the recent CU board meeting:

- Mullinax gave a progress update on the SCOPE 10 sewer rehabilitation project whose 10-year, $30 million cost is working to replace or repair damaged sewer lines that are allowing groundwater to seep in, thereby causing problems with manhole overflows, sewer backups and isolated flooding in some areas of the city. This Inflow and Infiltration, commonly known as I/I, is expected to be greatly reduced once the encompassing sewer rehab is completed.

One method being used by the Insituform contractor is the installation of Cured-in-Place-Pipe (CIPP) in which a resin-based lining is being placed inside cracked or damaged line in order to create a pipe-within-a-pipe scenario. When sewer line is too badly damaged for the CIPP process, it will be physically replaced.

Since Dec. 11, Insituform crews have installed CIPP sealed lining into 11,049 feet of 8-inch sewer main located within an area identified as Basin 31-45 which is in South Cleveland. To date, contractors have rehabilitated 54 service laterals and lined 22 manholes, Mullinax reported. The contractor still has five sections of 24-inch sewer main to line before work is completed in this basin.

n For the month of January, CU water crews installed 21 meter sets. A meter set is the physical connection of a new development, residential or commercial, to CU’s existing water system. Meter sets, as is the case with developers’ payments of access fees, are considered a measure of construction activity within the CU service region. Rising amounts of meter sets and access fees are thought to point to a rebounding economy; at least, in the Cleveland and Bradley County area. During the month of January in 2012 and 2011, CU reported 20 meter sets for each month.

Of the 21 meter sets in January 2013, Mullinax said seven were for single-family homes, two were for two-unit townhomes, six were for two 3-unit apartments, four were for four apartment buildings, one was for a commercial development and one was for an irrigation system.