City to take bids on Lauderdale drain repairs

Published 10:25 pm Thursday, June 25, 2015

The city of Selma is in the process of getting bids to have a storm drain pipe replaced on Lauderdale Street that has caused five cave-ins in a little over a year’s time.

The council voted Tuesday to authorize Ray Hogg, the city’s engineering consultant, to draw up plans and seek bids to have the pipe replaced.

“When we’ve had five cave-ins in a little over a year’s time, it kind of tells you something,” Hogg said. “The pipe is cracked. We know the condition of the pipe is not very good, and so that is the reason to go ahead and replace it.”

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Hogg said the pipe, which is a double 24-inch clay pipe, is responsible for multiple cave-ins dating back to last year.

“We had one at the [Bienville] monument, we have one that’s right there on Water Avenue and then the one there by the cleaners,” Hogg said. “Then last year we fixed two other spots, one over by Speir Land Company and the other one by the courthouse.”

The most recent cave-in happened earlier this month on Lauderdale Street at Selma One Hour Cleaners. Hogg said the cave-in was about 10 feet wide and 20 feet long.

The hole was caused because of the pipe cracking and collapsing, causing the road to fall in with it.

“That pipe is cracked, and it is real old. In my opinion, it is over 100-years-old, and it is very brittle,” Hogg said. “It definitely needs to be [replaced] soon because there can be more cave-ins. Usually, if you have a series of cave-ins it is going to continue. You can fix one section, but the problem moves.”

Hogg said his engineering firm started drawing up plans Thursday morning.

“We started this morning (Thursday) to develop the contractor drawings and specifications. We were down there doing what we call a topographic survey of the area, and we’ve just about got that finished,” Hogg said.

“Once we draw that up, we’ll get bids from contractors base do our drawings and specifications that I present to the council for their approval based on the low bid.”

Hogg estimated the project will cost around $144,000 to replace the pipe from the Bienville Monument to Alabama Avenue.

Once a bid is accepted by the Selma City Council, Hogg said it will take 45-60 days for the pipe to be replaced.

“The contractor will literally excavate the trench, take the old pipe out, put the new pipe in, back fill with a good material up to eight or 10 inches below the street level, and then they will rebuild that section of the street,” Hogg said.

The council declared the bid process as an emergency, but Hogg said he will still seek multiple bids to get the best price for the city.

Mayor George Evans said the project will be paid for by money from the city’s gas tax fund.

“We plan to pay for it out of gas tax fund. There is enough in there to pay for whatever comes out of it,” Evans said. “At this point it is just a matter of trying to repair what is broken, and hopefully it will eliminate any more problems.”

Evans said he is also working on getting a company to survey Selma’s aging infrastructure.

“That is in the making, and once we get the presentation done, the council will be able to vote to accept a company to come in and do a complete study of our infrastructure, drainage, sewage and all of those things,” Evans said,

Evans said the study is needed because of aging pipes like the one on Lauderdale and the one on Church Street that caused part of the bank of the river where Church meets Water Avenue to collapse in May.