Auxiliary waterline construction to begin in December

Published 9:47 am Friday, January 27, 2017

One of the final hurdles for the long-awaited auxiliary waterline for the city of Vicksburg has been cleared, but contruction of waterline is still nearly a year away.

Documents presented to the city by project engineer EJES Inc. of Dallas detail construction on the project could begin in December.

The timetable for the project was included in an amendment to the engineer’s contract to the city approved Wednesday by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The $6,811 amendment allows EJES to prepare the city’s application for a wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move the line through an area near Mint Springs Bayou, which runs near the line’s route.

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According to information included in the amendment, the project is expected to go out for bids in May.

The board in January 2016 approved a $193,589 contract with EJES, which has an office in Jackson, to review, re-examine and possibly redraw the plans in an attempt to keep the waterline project within its $3.565 million budget.

Public works director Garnet Van Norman said the contract amendment was necessary because the Corps changed its application requirements for wetlands permits.

“The Corps doesn’t do it any more (fill out the permit application), so the city will have hire somebody to do the form,” he said.

The board hired EJES Jan. 23, 2016, to replace IMS Engineers of Jackson, which had been the waterline project engineer since 2010. Between Feb. 15, 2011, and Aug. 29, 2014, the city paid IMS $212,331.50, according to city Accounting Department records. IMS’ contract was terminated in November 2015 after bids for the project were more than double the project budget.

Four companies submitted bids on the waterline project. The $8.57 million bid from T.L. Wallace Construction of Columbia was the highest of the four, with DirtWorks Inc. of Vicksburg coming in at $8.346 million.

S.J. Louis Construction of Texas and Hemphill construction of Florence had the lowest bids of $7.626 million and $7.329 million, respectively.

Part of the reason for the high bids, city officials believed, was the waterline’s proposed route laid out by IMS, which took it from the water treatment plant on Haining Road, under North Washington Street, across the Vicksburg National Military Park, then down Fort Hill Drive to tie into an existing line at Jackson Street.

Van Norman said the line’s new route will follow North Washington Street.

“It’s going to come out from the port (after connecting with the water treatment plant on Haining Road) and come down to North Washington Street and come into town that way,” he said. “It’s going to go in and connect at Jackson Street.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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