By Becky Jane Newbold,
Work on a water line extension along Highway 20 toward Summertown is progressing ahead of schedule, Contractor Gary Allen stated this week. The 5.4 miles, starting at D. D. Humphreys Road, will extend to the Lewis/Lawrence county line and is expected to be completed sometime this fall.
Disrupted lawns and driveways had many residents along the route concerned but Lewis County Mayor Bill Webb said Tuesday “Everything will be restored as it was before the work began.” Allen was in town Tuesday raking and preparing the area for sowing of grass, he confirmed during a telephone interview. “We should be finished in about two weeks,” he continued, “depending on the weather.”
Disfigured mounds of dirt covering newly installed water lines have been in place since at least mid-April. Time and rains have helped the dirt settle to allow for the best restoration, Allen said. Gary Allen Construction also was responsible for water line work done on Elm and Mill Streets and Arc Circle in Hohenwald, Project Manager Melissa Boner of the J. R. Wauford & Company stated. “They have done excellent work.”
Concrete and asphalt driveways interrupted by the water lines will also be repoured, Allen pledged.
Progress to complete the water line project is on hold temporarily as workers await delivery of an inline pump (pump station) to be installed at the border of the Natchez Trace Parkway. “There is not enough water pressure without a specially built pump,” City of Hohenwald Water Department Supervisor Rick Osborne explained.
Boner confirmed the custom-made pump station has been ordered following the approval of shop drawings by design contractors.
An Appalachian Regional Commission grant (ARC) in the amount of $500,000.00 was awarded to Lewis County to fund the project, Mayor Webb stated. The joint project with the City of Hohenwald will allow several residents in the area the option of access to city water. “We started out just going to the county line,” Mayor Webb explained. But because the project came in under bid, “several thousands of dollars were left over. We are now trying to get approval from the state for more,” he added. “This may allow us to add 25-30 more residents along Barrier Road, Paul Spears Road and Barnesville Road,” the mayor concluded.
“I’m glad we got it out there. We’ve been working on this for three years,” Lewis County Commissioner Jerry Ashmore, District 1, commented. “Many in the area have bad water,” he added. Residents who only have had access to water reeking of sulphur fumes, water tainted with iron or shallow wells are grateful for the long awaited project. Some have wells that have gone dry.
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“My cousin lives in our grandparents old house,” Commissioner Ashmore explained. “The hand dug well they use is only about 20 feet deep so surface water is all they have. Its dingy and only good for washing cars or clothes. You can’t drink it. He has been hauling drinking water from his parents house for two years.”
“Its going to be a good thing. Residents are a little fed up with the dragging along because of all the paperwork,” he continued. But the fact that the bid came in low, “that’s gonna help out more people.”
In a similar project, phase one of a water line extension along Mount Joy Road is complete. Funding from a USDA Rural Development Emergency Community Water Grant (ECWAG) and an agreement with the City of Mount Pleasant has already relieved water issues for many residents in that area.
Phase 2 of water line extension was approved last Tuesday by the Mount Pleasant City Commission, Lewis County Commissioner Mike King, District 1, reported. A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) originally in the amount of $340,000 will support the project. According to Commissioner King, the City of Mount Pleasant has obtained a loan which will be repaid by water service customers of the area.
Carolyn Mathis, a resident of the area, brought attention to the water needs to officials of Lewis County governmental and Mount Pleasant several years ago, Commissioner King said. “She has been real instrumental in keeping this alive,” he added.
“We are in a drought situation now. Folks are running short of water. One spring that served several families went dry. They were using creek water to do laundry. Part of them have water now through phase one,” he continued.
Because some of the numbers that should have been used for phase two were included in phase one planning, the second portion of the project almost did not happen, Commissioner King explained. “Mayor Bill Webb convinced the folks at the state and in the Federal government to go ahead with the project, to justify keeping the grant,” he continued. “He deserves credit for that.”
“I would like to thank the folks at Mount Pleasant government, Mayor Bill Shackelford, members of the Commission, the city manager and Director of Public Works Donnie Groves. We appreciate them helping us. They didn’t have to because none of us can vote for them,” Commissioner King commented.
Anyone who lives in the area who has not requested a tap may still be eligible. The $1,500 tap fee may be waived for anyone signing up now, Commissioner King concluded.