ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond County Board of Commissioners Tuesday approved a bid to clear a water line to make room for the widening of the strip of U.S. 1 that goes past Rockingham Speedway and Rockingham Dragway starting at the intersection with Marston Road.
The bid was awarded to Anson Contractors who priced the project at $967,095.85, but that tab will not be picked up by Richmond County taxpayers thanks to an agreement with the N.C. Department of Transportation.
DOT reimburses local governments 100 percent for accommodations they have to make for DOT projects.
“That’s a plus, definitely,” said newly appointed County Manager Bryan Land.
The project will involve laying 19,700 linear feet of waterline 25 feet away from the current position. The county has already begun clearing telephone poles and other structures that would be in the path of the new road.
Land said that Anson Contractors will start laying the new water line within the next 30 days, to be completed in about four months. The work on widening U.S. 1 will begin in March.
The county has several other water infrastructure projects in the works.
Construction workers will break ground on a project to extend water service to the Windblow community in the next two weeks, according to Land. The project will involve laying 4,500 feet of water line with a six-inch diameter, which will bring county water to about 10 residential customers and could potentially serve 12 chicken houses.
Another water line project along Old Cheraw Highway is in the planning and permitting stages, with bidding to begin in Spring 2018.
The county is also in the final stages of a project to bring much of the county’s water meters up to date with the current technology. The new meters will be automated and will allow county employees to more accurately and efficiently assess leakage issues.
The new system will give automatic alerts of leakages and provide more accurate information about where the leak is using pressure sensors. County employees, if asked by a resident about an issue with their water bill, for example, could pull up hour-by-hour water usage data on their desktop computers to assist in fixing the issue, according to Land.
The project will provide new meters for 7,500 residences and 100 commercial and industrial buildings. The residential meters will be completed in mid-December and the installation of the commercial and industrial meters will begin in January or February. The project cost the county nearly $5 million, according to Land.
“It’s well worth it,” Land said. “This is money well spent.”
Rockingham and Hamlet have separate water systems from the county. Hazel Tew, finance director for Rockingham, said that the city is transitioning to automated water meters gradually.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674.