A handful of residents questioned accessibility of their streets during a sewer line project at a public meeting held at the South Shore Regional Library May 28.
This is Phase II of a project that will eventually bring waste water from as far north as Valrico to the newly expanded waste water treatment plant visible from Interstate 75 just north of the Ruskin exit.
Those in attendance were mostly from Sun City Center and the Villages of Cypress Creek.
The questions came about because the county hopes to start changing the size of the pipeline in their neighborhoods as early as August to accommodate larger loads of waste water that’s piped to the newly enlarged South County Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant visible from Interstate 75 just north of the Ruskin exit. The inability to predict an exact start date depends on material delivery and other construction-related matters.
Phase I of this project has been completed. It brought 30-inch pipe from US-301 to Cortaro Drive under the south side of SR 674. The contract calls for completion of Phase II in nine months from the starting date.
Enlarging the pipeline is needed because of the expansion of the waste water plant that began in April 2012. That expansion will eventually take the facility from a processing capacity of 4 ½ million gallons a day to 10 million gallons a day and another expansion is also planned for the future that would allow it to treat 16 million gallons a day.
In a previous news story published Aug. 14, 2012, civil engineer Lisa Murrin — who is in charge of the project — explained that enlarging the plant was needed because of expected area growth.
At that time she said, “There are DRIs for a lot of industrial growth in the area.”
DRIs are “Development of Regional Impact” plans that were mapped out in the late 1980s and early 1990s that mark areas’ permitted densities and use under land management codes. These were done before any of the Community Plans were made.
Now that construction is beginning to go through neighborhoods, Mark Dillman of Hillsborough County’s Public Works held the recent meeting to let residents know what they could expect.
This second phase of the enlargement project will install approximately 11,000 feet — or 2.1 miles — of 30-inch sewage force-main pipeline from Cortaro Drive and SR. 674 through the Villages of Cypress Creek, which includes Upper Creek Drive, where there are two healthcare facilities, a LifePath Hospice, and assisted living facilities and apartments.
Concerned residents asked specific questions about accessibility.
John Bowker of Sun City Center wanted to know if any roads would be closed and if emergency vehicles would be able to get through at all times.
Tom Rose of the Villages of Cypress Creek questioned the vulnerability of landscaping and irrigation lines along Cypress Village Boulevard.
“We’ll be closing lanes, not roads,” Dillman said. “Emergency vehicles — in fact, all vehicles — will have access 24/7.”
Dillman said there would be no way to avoid breaking irrigation lines and disturbing some landscaping, but that the county had discussed this with the newly chosen contractor, Danny Rodriguez of Miami-based Metro Equipment Services.
“We have his promise to keep it as aesthetic as possible during the construction, and the contractor has agreed to replace the landscaping and irrigation,” Dillman added.
Dillman assured residents that even though only one lane on the west side of all streets will be affected, both lanes on that side of the median will be repaved so there will be no uneven portion of road.
This portion of the sewer project has a cost of $8 million and is being funded by the Water Enterprise’s Capital Improvement Program.
Enlargement of the plant is reported to cost $65 million and is funded through the county’s Capital Improvement Fund.