City bringing over $1.6 million in water and sewer upgrades to Rome river district

More than 4,500 feet of pipes sitting on West Third Street Wednesday will be used to upgrade the water and sewer systems in the Rome River District.

More than $1.6 million in water and sewer upgrades are set to start in Rome’s River District as early as this week, depending on the weather.

Water and Sewer Division Director Mike Hackett said the city plans to upgrade water and sewer lines from West Third Street between Second Avenue at Fifth Avenue. That is a total of 3,500 feet of new water lines and about 1,000 feet of sewer line replacement.

A grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission will cover $600,000 of the total cost.

“We’re doing this project in-house,” Hackett said. “The grant is one of those matching kinds of grants where we will have to keep up with the expenses to form our match and receive the full $600,000.”

The grant will also cover moving overhead utility lines underground. New 10-inch or 12-inch sewer lines will greatly improve service to that section of the downtown district, City Engineer Aaron Carroll said.

Plans involve burying both the water lines and utilities underneath the sidewalk on the west side of Fifth Avenue.

Work on the project is set to begin soon. Hopefully this week if weather permits it, Hackett said. In the meantime, the equipment is set up at a staging area next to the Courtyard Rome Riverwalk hotel on West Third Street.

“We’ve got our materials on-site,” Hackett said. “We should start this week or next week depending on the weather.”

City Public Information Officer Doug Walker said to expect the project to be finished by early spring, which was roughly the estimate Hackett gave.

“It’ll be finished in about six months,” Hackett said.

The project is only a small piece of a larger plan for the river district.

The Public Works Committee recommended the engineering and design contract for the area’s streetscape project be awarded to Peachtree Corners-based firm Pond and Co. for $187,718.

“This is right in their wheelhouse,” City Manager Sammy Rich said.

There had been talks of making changes to the traffic flow on the Fifth Avenue bridge, which is owned by the county. However, Floyd County officials said no changes will be made to the bridge until the plans to widen Second Avenue and the Turner McCall Boulevard bridge are completed.

The latter project is not slated for construction until 2026. The Georgia Department of Transportation has the Second Avenue widening slated for bidding in the summer of 2022.

Another big change coming to the River District concerns a development by Four Stones Real Estate Impact. The group purchased much of the property between West Third Street and the levee and has plans for a multi-million dollar residential, office and retail project in the area.

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