Jackson to lay new sewer lines to serve growth

Monday, June 23, 2003

Of all city structures, perhaps sewers are the most underappreciated by the public.

They're only noticed when they don't work. And then, boy, are they noticed.

The city of Jackson has declared that the current system isn't working quickly enough -- not for the present and certainly not for the growth officials expect once the city expands with the East Main Street extension project.

The city plans to provide relief this summer by laying two huge sewer lines through the heart of town and extended them through undeveloped parts of the city.

"These will serve the part of town that has really expanded," said Jackson public works director Rodney Bollinger. "These lines are way outdated. They have to be replaced, but we're also planning for future growth."

Paid for by bond issue

The board of aldermen will likely award a contract at the July 7 meeting. PR Developers of Cape Girardeau is the lowest bidder on both projects and, upon the board's approval, could start work as early as July 17. The work is scheduled to be completed by April.

Most of the lines being replaced are 8 inches in diameter. The new lines will run between 8 and 12 inches. All told, the systems will cost about $1.53 million and will be paid from the bond issue that was passed in 1998.

The work on both projects will begin soon at Goose Creek near Old Cape Road.

The East Main project will then take a path through the back yards of residents who live on East Jefferson Street. Some residents in that area have experienced backup problems. Others are more blasé about the construction

"It's OK with me," said Martin Roberts of 815 E. Jefferson St. "They told us they'd fix the yard up back the way that it was."

From East Jefferson, the East Main sewer line will bend to the north and cut between a couple of apartment buildings, cross Shawnee Boulevard and run through some undeveloped land east of Shawnee and north of Main Street.

The Goose Creek sewer project will run parallel to the creek and serve the residents in the area of Greensferry Road, a dense residential section of town.

It will continue north through undeveloped property and toward the Bent Creek subdivision.

The new sewer lines will eliminate the need for six pump stations and prevent backups, which have occurred occasionally, Bollinger said.

Pump stations are needed to pump sewage up hills to the main sewer system. Developers typically install the pump stations, and they are maintained on a weekly basis by the city. While expensive to maintain, Bollinger says the pump stations are a "necessary evil" in order for developers to build subdivisions.

'Absolutely necessary'

Developer John Lichtenegger said he's excited to see the progress made in the city's sewer system.

"It's absolutely necessary," he said. "The growth in the 1990s outpaced the system and this is catching it up. Any time you can flow sewer with gravity instead of pumping it from station to station is a big improvement. The city will save thousands of dollars in electricity and thousands of man-hours for maintenance."

Some streets will have lanes temporarily shut down during construction, including the old part of East Main, East Adams Street and Kies Avenue, Bollinger said. But the intersection at Shawnee and Main will remain open because the city inserted "sleeves" when those roads were improved, anticipating the sewer expansion. PR Developers will be able to snake the new sewer lines under the road without having to bore or cut through.

bmiller@semissourian.com

243-6635

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