By Sue Botos
In order to get the third and final phase of the Hampton Road storm and sanitary sewer improvement project rolling, City Council held a special meeting Monday to approve a contract with Fabrizi Trucking & Paving Co. to do the work.
Ordinance sponsor and Ward 4 Councilman John Shepherd explained at the May 28 council meeting that this portion of the work will extend from the River Plaza shopping area to Interstate 90. He reported that Fabrizi, which also did the phase 2 portion of the project, bid $2,394,566, considerably less than the $2,730,000 estimate by city engineer Mike Mackay. Fabrizi was also $479,000 under the next closest applicant.
During the project, which is part of an federal EPA mandate, storm and sanitary sewers will be removed and replaced as well as water connections, pavement, curbs, aprons and some sidewalks. The work will relieve flooding of homes and streets in the area caused by old sewer lines, some of which date back to the 1920s.
Safety service Director Mary Kay Costello stated that some funding will be available through zero-interest loans, and finance Director Mike Thomas confirmed that grants are available, for which the city’s responsibility would be 30 percent.
Responding to council questioning about a timeline, Costello responded that a pre-construction meeting will be held as soon as possible. “We want this project done this season,” she stated. However, Costello noted that it would not be completed in time for the start of the school year. She said it is essential that paving be wrapped up before November, the traditional closing date for asphalt manufacturing.
“We need to avoid spring remobilization,” said Shepherd, adding that this would add to the project’s cost.
While council members said they were pleased with Fabrizi’s work on phase 2 of the project, resident Dan Fraylick was less impressed with that job, stating at the May 28 council session, “It took forever to install that sewer work. This company can’t do this in three months.” He added that during phase 2, which included Smith Court to Detroit Road, workers were often not on the job and sometimes “sat and did nothing.”
Fraylick claimed he had seen new sewers installed in an entire southern Ohio city in the time it took Fabrizi to complete phase 2.
Costello noted that despite a road collapse on Detroit and unrelated “water work,” Fabrizi was “consistently on schedule.” She also pointed out that crews work four 10-hour days per week, so at times it may look like nothing is going on. “They are efficiently scheduled and run,” she said, adding that because Fabrizi has an in-house paving division, there are no delays waiting for subcontractors.
In addition, Costello assured Fraylick that a representative from Mackay Engineering will be on site every day, and liaison Ron Gottschalk will check in as often as he can, considering the other projects is also inspecting.
One of Fraylick’s biggest concerns was access to public buildings, such as the library, during the project. Mayor Pam Bobst assured him that paving would done in a way that would allow this, but Fraylick stated that at one point, he could not reach a Smith Court business for a scheduled appointment during phase 2. Bobst pointed out that the intersection of Smith and Detroit had to be closed briefly after the road collapse, and that there may be short periods of time when full access is not available during phase 3, but that most of the time, residents will be able to get where they need to go.
Costello said she had spoken to library Director Nick Cronin, who stated that patrons will always have accessibility to the library, but perhaps not the book drop. “They’re thinking of creative ways to do a book drop to keep it as convenient as possible,” Costello stated.
Library Assistant Director Jamie Mason said that there will be times when the book drop is blocked, and that alternatives are being looked into. “We’re looking for ways patrons can return materials without getting out of their car, but safety of our patrons is our No. 1 priority,” he stated.