Delays in Lumberton Sewer Line Rehabilitation and Tanglewood Drainage Projects

Shown is the construction area on West 27th Street near UNC Health Southeastern. Work continues on the project to reduce flooding in the community of Tanglewood and drain stormwater into the Lumber River.

LUMBERTON – The Tanglewood drainage project is expected to be completed on time, but the city’s offer to replace and repair the old sewer lines has taken much longer than expected.

The project in the community of Tanglewood to improve stormwater drainage began in July. Workers have a little over 300 days to complete the project. Delays were caused by weather conditions and equipment shortages. The project has also been delayed as crews await the arrival of a large pipe needed for the project, according to Rob Armstrong, director of Lumberton Public Works.

The pipe will be placed to allow stormwater to flow into the Lumber River from an area off Carthage Road, Armstrong said. It should arrive next week. Land clearing and excavation was underway this week to prepare the site for driving.

The project could end a few days late, but Armstrong is hoping it will be completed on time.

“For the most part, it all falls into place,” Armstrong said.

It is estimated that 1,800 existing jobs are threatened every time the area is flooded, according to city officials. For decades, residents of Tanglewood have worried about flooding after heavy rains, and after Hurricane Matthew hit in 2016, the town decided to install new drainage pipes around UNC Health Southeastern to that stormwater be redirected from Meadow Branch to the Lumber River.

The construction contract for the Tanglewood project was awarded to Terrahawk LLC, which was the lowest bidder at $ 8,502,294.18, at a Lumberton city council meeting on May 12. The contract price is to be paid using funds received under a Golden LEAF grant of $ 3 million and a grant of $ 6.8 million from the US Economic Development Administration.

The city received the $ 3 million Golden LEAF grant in 2017, months after Hurricane Matthew hit Robeson County, but the project was put on hold in September 2019 after being awarded to Metcon Construction, which self-declared a “material error” in its offer. The city then applied for additional funding for the project and received the $ 6.8 million EDA grant in April 2020.

After a months-long approval process, City Manager Wayne Horne informed city council on March 17 that the EDA had given the city approval to go ahead with the project.

However, the city’s efforts to repair and replace the old concrete sewer lines are still ongoing, even though the project was due to end in March, Armstrong said.

The project was awarded and work began in December, he said. But the project was delayed due to resin shortages and the effects of the coronavirus on crew members. Resin is an agent used to harden line components.

Armstrong estimates that approximately 4 miles of sewer lines are involved in the project, which covers the Godwin Heights and Sunset Heights areas. Teams from Tri-State Utilities, based in Chesapeake, Virginia, are working on the project.

“Most of it is over,” he said.

The director of public works said the million-dollar project could start at the end of October.

“The project will be under budget,” Armstrong said.

Parts of the project, such as adding two manholes and replacing pipes on Summit Avenue and Michigan Circle, were done in-house by Public Works teams. These efforts saved the city money and the project is valued at approximately $ 935,000.

The project is funded by a combined million dollars through the NC Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The funding consisted of a grant of $ 500,000 and a low-interest loan of $ 500,000, Armstrong said. The loan must be repaid over a period of 20 years.

The scholarship was awarded in 2019, he said. The city then took the time to investigate which lines needed repair.

The plan was developed around the time Hurricane Florence made landfall in Robeson County in September 2018.

Contact Jessica Horne at 910-416-5165 or by email at [email protected] TC Hunter contributed to this report.

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