VALDOSTA – Design fees for the Fry Street improvement project were approved, along with construction fees during an earlier Valdosta City Council meeting.

City Council awarded a $58,873 contract fee to Lovell Engineering Associates, which surveyed the project’s area and performed design work for it.

The project will construct 1,500 linear feet of sidewalk, curb and gutter, including the piping of the ditches, new retaining walls, curb inlets and yard drain inlets installed where necessary.

New sod, concrete driveway aprons and asphalt paving will be added to finalize the project.

The finished process should complete a gap in a sidewalk network connecting Fry Street to East Hill Avenue, Old Lake Park Road, Ulmer Avenue, Griffin Avenue, South Patterson Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

LEA completed the survey for the project in March, submitting 60{df277fece0e332513078d4db57f50d7f29a9f255adc120b3235ad73f23ad2e97} of the design plans to city staff for review, Pat Collins, city engineer, said.

By April, LEA was told to stop work on the initial design, and asked to provide conceptual figures and design estimates to move the sidewalk to the east side of Fry Street.

The initial fee of LEA’s work was $39,500, but the redesign called for an additional $19,373.

Collins said he presented this increase to City Council for the purpose of transparency. He said the design only needed the city manager’s signature but wanted to reveal the costs to everyone.

The City of Valdosta is reapplying for a 5307 grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation for Fiscal Year 2023.

The grant covers 50{df277fece0e332513078d4db57f50d7f29a9f255adc120b3235ad73f23ad2e97} of operational costs and 80{df277fece0e332513078d4db57f50d7f29a9f255adc120b3235ad73f23ad2e97} of capital costs in funding the Valdosta On-Demand public transit system. It, alongside other federal and state funding, covers 70{df277fece0e332513078d4db57f50d7f29a9f255adc120b3235ad73f23ad2e97} of the program’s costs with the city taking on 30{df277fece0e332513078d4db57f50d7f29a9f255adc120b3235ad73f23ad2e97}.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division issued a consent order for the city to address in August 2020. The order identified 19 conditions related to sewer conditions to satisfy.

One of the conditions includes an inflow and infiltration action plan calling for tasks such as project management, sewer flow monitoring analysis, manhole inspections, flow monitor installation and training.

Barge Design Solutions submitted a bid to perform the tasks at $1,659,570, but budget limitations caused the city utilities department to search for cost-saving options.

BDS submitted a revised proposal Oct. 7 with a budget set at “not-to-exceed amount of $992,200,” Utilities Director David Frost said.

The proposal comes with a 10{df277fece0e332513078d4db57f50d7f29a9f255adc120b3235ad73f23ad2e97} contingency of $99,220 for a total of $1,091,420.

The City of Valdosta is expediting the replacement of the entire 422 linear feet sewer main located in Drexel Park.

City Manager Mark Barber said the city initially responded to a sinkhole in the area back in July. Upon investigation, city utilities staff found a collapsed concrete main restricting sewage flow.

Further inspection found the sewer line in brittle condition.

With time constraints and the prevention of future pipe failure in mind, an emergency order was issued for repairs, Barber said.

RPI Underground was chosen for its availability and immediate access to the needed materials. The city approved it for the emergency repairs, paying $562,384.10 upon completion.

Five city staff members were awarded and honored at the Georgia Chapter of the American Public Works Association Seventh Annual Awards Program Ceremony. They include:

Tom Pierce: Manager of the Year – Emergency Management.

Anthony Musgrove: Manager of the Year – Solid Waste.

Angela Bray: Manager of the Year – Water Resources.

John Burton: Chapter Manager of the Year – Fleet Superintendent, National 90 Hour.

Patrick Collins — Stepping Up Award, Top 10 Public Works Leader.

The City’s stormwater division also received a public works awareness award in community involvement for the Christmas parade.