Traffic along South Main Street in Hinesville’s downtown could be a little clogged for a couple of days as crews complete sewer improvements.
City council members approved a budget amendment to cover the increasing cost of replacing 650 feet of sewer lines, going from a little more than $314,000 to nearly $410,000.
The original bid included slip lining 500 feet of failed concrete sewer pipe and replacing another 250 feet of failed concrete pipe. But the contractor could install only a little more than 100 feet of slip lining, city engineer Paul Simonton said. The 400foot section of sewer from Ryon Avenue to Hendry Street could not be slip lined, and the city now will look to replace 650 feet of sewer line, instead of the original 250 feet.
“This is our first phase of a much bigger project,” Simonton told council members.
The city slip lined — putting in plastic or PVC inside the old sewer pipe — for the section under General Screven Way, also meaning they didn’t have to dig up the road there, Simonton noted.
But the section from General Screven Way to Hendry has had cave-ins and they have continued to get worse, he added. The concrete sewer pipes, placed as long as 70-80 years ago, Simonton estimated, have to be replaced.
Simonton said there are sections with the sanitary sewer pipe underneath a gas line and also under an old phone company conduit.
“We have to dig up all the way down to Hendry. Eventually we’ll have to dig up road and start over in little phases,” he said.
That work is expected to take two to three days, and traffic will be rerouted using orange safety barrels throughout the process.
“We know we have more concrete pipe in the downtown area,” Simonton said. “We have replaced most of it. But we know where they are.”
Once sewer lines are repaired, the city faces the next phase of the street work — which includes two roundabouts and resurfacing. The city is looking at improvements on South Main from downtown to its juncture with Ralph Quarterman Drive.
“South Main is a huge project for us,” City Manager Kenneth Howard said.
The plans call for an oval-shaped roundabout at Hendry and Main and a circular roundabout at South Main and Ryon Avenue. The roundabout at South Main and Hendry will replace the traffic signal there.
“The overall objective is to replicate what we have on Memorial Drive,” Howard said at Thursday’s council meeting.
Howard told council members in late 2022 that if the city went ahead and did not wait for state TAP funding for the next phase of the Ryon Avenue/Main Street corridor, it faced repaying the state for the engineering costs.
Simonton told council members at that December 2022 meeting that if the project remained in the state’s TAP funding, it would not start until 2025.
Work on the roundabouts, Simonton said, is likely to start this summer and could take at least a year to complete.
“It’ll be a little bit of mess for a little while,” he said.
Simonton said they will be cognizant of parades scheduled to come through downtown as they work on the roundabouts, especially the South Main-Hendry one that is along the usual route for parades.
The third phase is improving South Main from Kasey Drive to its intersection with Ralph Quarterman Drive. The city has put that work out to bid three times, with no success in getting any bids. That section could take 30-40 months to complete, Simonton said.
The median islands being installed now on South Main Street were part of a study done by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government on Hinesville’s downtown.
While motorists have complained about navigating the now depression in South Main near The First bank’s drivethrough, milling and repaving of the entire stretch is in the offing, Simonton and Howard said.
“We ask the public to bear with us as we continue to improve the downtown streets,” Howard said. “I’ve heard the comments and I understand the frustration. But this is not the end of it.”
Crosswalks will be put in following the milling and resurfacing and will be stamped concrete to resemble bricks.