Relocating water and sewer lines for the widening of Highway 144 will not cost the city of Richmond Hill any money.
The Georgia Department of Transportation has agreed to cover the cost of the utility relocation, thereby saving the city approximately $700,000, according to City Manager Chris Lovell.
The city’s only expense for the project will be about $45,000 in engineering fees to the firm Thomas and Hutton.
“It’s a pretty good deal for the city,” Lovell said.
More than 9,000 feet of water and sewer lines will need to be relocated for the widening of Highway 144 from Timber Trail to Port Royal Road. In its funding request to the DOT, the city explained it does not have adequate equipment and staff to do that.
“We applied to the Georgia Department of Transportation for them to pay for it, and we were successful in that endeavor,” Lovell said.
Richmond Hill City Council members voted unanimously at their June 2 meeting to approve the memorandum of understanding with the DOT and the engineering services contract with Thomas and Hutton.
The widening of Highway 144 is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2016. Lovell could not give a specific date because the DOT still needs to acquire some rights-of-way between Timber Trail and Port Royal Road.
At the same time the water and sewer lines are being relocated, they also might be upgraded, according to Lovell. The current one-way lines could be converted to a looped system.
When a line travels one way and dead-ends, Lovell explained, water tends to become stagnant. Looping some of the lines would create a more efficient way to keep water moving through them and also create back-up lines within the system.
The stretch of Highway 144 to be widened currently has one lane in each direction. The cost to widen the state road will be paid by the Georgia DOT.