VALDOSTA – City infrastructure was on the minds and agenda of the Valdosta City Council this month as it approved six improvements.
City utilities and engineering departments made the requests, with the former focusing on action and the latter focusing on preparation of action.
Darryl Muse, city director of utilities, asked council to consider bids for Phase VII of the manhole replacement and rehabilitation program.
The utilities department has repaired about 250 manholes during the past seven years of the program with 30 repaired since last year.
On average, 34-35 manholes are repaired each year, Muse said. Utilities plans to reach the average in 2021, too, said David Frost, assistant director of utilities.
“We do at least 30 a year through the contract projects,” he said. “So next year could be 30-35 depending on what we find out there.”
Depending on the ease of access or the depth of the manholes, the city decides whether to use its in-house rehabilitation team or a contractor, Frost said.
The program is expected to start sometime in January with 90 days to complete once started. Once done, other manholes will be assessed and marked throughout the year for the next project.
City Council approved the bid at $151,695.28. Council also considered an agreement for the inflow and infiltration action plan required by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
Muse said the plan involves infrastructure improvement projects the city would perform regardless, such as the manhole rehabilitation program.
“We have about 90% of those (projects) meeting the date and we have a deadline to get those in to the state by the 31st of December,” Muse said.
Muse requested the purchase of Cues lateral launch inspection equipment for the utilities department to manage lateral line mains which have caused problems for the city in the past.
“To date, we’ve been unable to access those mains,” he said. "This camera allows us to not only go up the main but also allows us to track the camera.”
Muse said a frequency can be programed into the camera, allowing it to generate between eight or 15 megahertz, frequencies coinciding with utilities’ locating equipment.
Muse said this process helps homeowners.
“Folks ready to move into a mobile home or an appendage stick house on a piece of property, they often can’t find the lateral,” he said. “We can see the lateral, but we’ve never been able to tell them how far in their property that the lateral extended.”
The device was the only one compatible with the department’s existing equipment. City Council approved the request.
Patrick Collins, director of engineering, asked council consider consultants for design services on three different Tier 2 projects paid for with T-SPLOST funds.
The projects include the Old Clyattville Road widening project, the South Patterson Street at Griffin Avenue intersection improvements project and the Baytree Road at Gornto Road intersection improvements project.
The first project will be a .62-mile widening section replacing the existing two-end section with four lanes. Consulting is set to go to Global Engineering Associates for $152,500.
Collins said the city will review progress by meeting with the Department of Transportation once the project starts. Council unanimously approved it.
The second project’s objective is to take out the 90 degree angled approach and tie-in to South Patterson Street, Collins said.
“At the same time, they’ll look at drainage issues in the area and those types of things,” he said.
Collins said engineering, with DOT recommendations in mind, has selected EMC Engineering Services to perform the project’s consulting at $90,700.
Council approved the consideration with Collins adding engineering will see if a traffic light is warranted for the area.
The third project would improve traffic circulation at the Baytree-Gornto roads intersection. Collins said local homeowner associations have told engineering about the congestion and activity in the area due to so many businesses in close proximity.
Kimley-Horn and Associates performed a study on the area in 2017. Between that study and a DOT recommendation, Collins selected the consulting firm again to be consultants on the project at $193,352.
Council approved the consideration. All three projects came in under their respective capped program amounts, city officials said.
City Council considered and approved the city applying for DOT grant funding for Fiscal Year 2022 to initiate a public transit system.