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More study for fire loop bid

Following Tuesday’s bid opening, engineers and city officialsare studying finances and plans for a downtown water systemimprovement project to benefit the Mississippi School of the Artsand other parts of the area.

Derrick Tucker, with Engineering Associates, said the sole bidof $951,713 was higher than estimated when the project was prepareda few years ago. He also said some items had been added sincethen.

“We’re going to take the bid under advisement and talk to themayor and board about it,” Tucker said.

Tucker said there would be some discussion with City Clerk IrisRudman about finances and with City Engineer Carl Ray Furr aboutplans to see if all or part of the project could done.

The city has a received a $462,000 grant specifically for theproject, known as the Whitworth Fire Loop System. Other fundingcould come from a $1 million federal appropriation the cityreceived for Whitworth improvements, but some of that money hasalready been targeted for a new culvert and campus renovations.

“A lot of improvements have been done with that money, but it’sall been related to Whitworth,” Tucker said.

The fire loop project includes installation of larger waterlines along West Cherokee Street, Monticello Street, Jackson Streetand West Congress Street. The upgrades involve 12 and eight inchlines.

Water Department Superintendent Lanny Dickey said some of thework could be removed if funding does not allow.

“It’s a possibility of having to scale it back,” Dickeysaid.

Dickey said the 12-inch lines planned for West Cherokee Streetand Monticello Street around the college campus would boost waterpressure and enhance fire protection for the investment going intothe buildings that will house the arts school.

The eight-inch lines along West Congress Street would be anupgrade to replace old six- and four-inch lines in that area,Dickey said. He indicated that work could be removed if fundingwill not permit.

Pending city action and contract review, the project could beginin about a month to six weeks. The work will require the cutting ofsome city streets to remove and replace lines, which will result intraffic congestion.

“It’s going to be some inconveniences in and around the downtownarea, Tucker said.

Tucker said engineers had been instructed to minimize down timefor commercial and residential water customers. He said work wouldbe done in small phases in an effort to accomplish that.

Unless there is something unexpected, like an old broken waterline, Dickey expected minimal loss of services during theproject.

“The only down time would be changing service from the old lineto the new line,” Dickey said.