By Beth Lawrence 

 

After hitting a few snags, a long-needed update for some local infrastructure could soon be underway.

The Tuckaseigee Water and Sewer Authority received and has approved a bid to replace two segments of its sewer system.

“The low bidder, Frizzell Construction Company, Inc. was notified that they are the apparent low bidder, and bid information was submitted by our engineer to the N.C. Department of Water Infrastructure for review of the bid package,” TWSA Director Daniel Manring said. “Since they (DWI) are funding a major portion of the work, they must complete their review prior to the signing of contracts.”

On Wednesday, the DWI approved the bid and granted TWSA permission to move forward with a contract for the work. The contract execution phase could be completed in the next few weeks followed by preconstruction meetings.

Plans to replace the aging Jackson Paper and Dollar Store lift stations have been in the works for a few years. The need was identified in the 2016-17 fiscal year, and TWSA began to search for grants and loans to cover the cost of the work.

The two stations on Scotts Creek near downtown Sylva are over 30 and 50 years old respectively.

A lift station is a system to move wastewater from a lower elevation to a higher one where the slope is steep enough to impede the natural gravitational flow.

The two pumps are crucial mechanisms in TWSA’s sewage collection process.

The Jackson Paper Pump Station, built in 1987, is located across from Jackson Paper’s main entrance and handles 70 percent of sewer flow for the town. The second, the Dollar Store Pump Station, is located behind Wholesale Supply, formerly Family Dollar. It was constructed in 1965 and is responsible for less collection but can be used to move part of Jackson Paper Pump Station’s flow if needed.

The units will receive new pump stations, controls and generators, which are expected to last several decades.

Last year TWSA sent the project out to bid, but the low bid of over $1.9 million submitted by Buchanan and Son was higher than the $1.5 million TWSA had projected to complete the builds. The authority was able to do part of the work in-house, thus eliminating some of the costs a contractor would incur.

The project was again sent out to bid in July and received five bids. Frizzell’s bid for $1,454,760 was the lowest.

If all goes well, the project could be complete within a year.

The completion timeline is contracted for 300 days, Manring said.

Work could begin in the next few weeks. Traffic is not expected to be hugely impacted by the build.

“The project is all outside of the roadway,” Manring said. “There is some near the edge of Main Street which may cause a temporary lane closure, but very little is anticipated.”

Two other TWSA projects, Wastewater Treatment Plant #2 rehabilitation and Horsepasture sewer projects are expected to go out to bid in the next few months.

“So, we expect to be even busier in the next couple of years with construction activity,” Manring said.