Construction during peak tourist season
A $2.1 million sewer project to increase the flow capacity in the north end of Pigeon Forge could begin immediately with lane closures along the Parkway during the peak tourist season.
Consultant Kenny Diehl met with the Pigeon Forge Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to discuss the North Parkway Sewer Project and others. The low bid for the project came from Charles Blalock & Sons and the commissioners are expected to vote on whether or not to accept the bid at their next meeting in May.
“This work is scheduled to begin almost immediately,” said Diehl, adding that the project is slated to be done “by the first weekend in November.”
“There’s going to be some inconveniences to these businesses while we’re putting these in,” said Public Works Director Mark Miller. “There’s no way around it.”
“It won’t be built when there’s not a lot of people in town; it’s going to be built right through the middle of the summer,” Miller said.
“We will be required to close one lane of traffic going towards Sevierville. But, those are limited hours, they will not be working weekends,” said Diehl.
“It’s a necessary evil isn’t it Mark?” asked commissioner Joyce Brackins.
“If we’re going to continue to grow, it is,” answered Miller.
Miller said that the city would have to work to coordinate these efforts with local businesses including holding a pre-construction conference. “We have to work with them on their businesses staying open—this is a big pipe going right through the middle of their parking lot,” said Miller.
The new sewer line will run under the Parkway between the Christmas Village Inn area and the Hampton Inn and Bob Evans and the back to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
While, originally, construction plans called for a 21-inch line, that was increased to a 24-inch line. “I feel like it’s warranted to upsize the pipe because we don’t want to have to do this again,” said Diehl. “Three inches doesn’t sound like much but we’ve picked up about 30 percent extra flow,” he added. “This gives us more than adequate capacity for any future projection of flow from that area.”
The commissioners also heard about a second sewer project to replace the existing line servicing the north end of the city. The existing line is an eight-inch line that was built before there were any major developments on that end of the city. This sewage line would be replaced with a 24-inch line.
This project was scheduled to be already finished but was delayed due to materials shortages resulting from hurricane damage in 2005. “The price of pipe and material has gone up substantially due to the lingering effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” said Diehl. “At one time you couldn’t get the pipe because the resident manufacturers were all in the Louisiana-Houston Delta area. They remained shut down because once they had the electricity back and the roof back on there were no workers there to do the work,” he said.
The contract had been awarded to Charles Blalock & Sons and Diehl recommended that the city approve a change order for the contract rather than re-biding the project altogether.
The change order would extend the contract by 365 days and increase the value of the contract to accommodate cost increases for materials. “Even with this increase, the amount is $100,000 less than the second lowest bid we received last year,” said Diehl.
Miller said that construction would not be allowed on certain weekends when big events are going on. He also said that work hours would be restricted as there are several hotels and motels along the corridor.
The commissioners could vote on the North Parkway contract and the change order at their next meeting which will take place on May 8. City commission meetings begin at 5:30 p.m. and are held at the Pigeon Forge City Hall Council Chamber at 225 Pine Mountain Road.