A project to improve stormwater drainage in the Pier Village on St. Simons Island may conflict with the spring break school holiday.
Glynn County Public Works and contractors broke the news to village business owners Wednesday in the latest weekly public meeting on the matter.
“We just came off the dead season ... it’s our lifeblood right now to try to make up for the offseason that we had and that we have every year going into spring break,” said Forrest Brown, owner of the restaurant Brogan’s South. “We’re kind of getting the shaft.”
Others chimed in, stating that early April is one of the busiest times of the year, just behind the Fourth of July.
The project’s main goal is to lower parking spots and the sidewalk on the west side of Mallery Street from Kings Way to Lord Avenue to create a deeper gutter, facilitating drainage away from storefronts and out of the village, said Ben Pierce, manager of Glynn County Public Works’ roads and drainage division.
“With the new curb and the new sidewalk, we’re making our absolute best attempt to try to get water away from the village,” Pierce said.
The project was originally scheduled to start before the weekend of the Georgia-Florida football game in October but did not actually begin until January. County officials said at the time that they expected the project to wrap up in March before the spring break crowds hit, but that estimate has since been pushed back to early April.
A significant issue was the replacement of roughly 220 feet of water pipe, which may require contractors and the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission to dig up part of Mallery Street.
The county and contractors have known they would need to replace the pipe for six weeks and that it would be most efficient to do so now, as they already need to replace underground drainage pipes that run parallel to the water line, said Burke Murph, an engineer with Georgia Water and Environmental Services.
The pipe — made of a material called transite, an asbestos cement-based product that was popular in the 1940s and 1950s — runs from Lord Avenue under Mallery Street and down Beachview Boulevard.
Derrick Simmons, JWSC water distribution superintendent, said it’s something that should be done sooner rather than later. The utility will have to replace the transite pipe eventually, and he said it didn’t want to pass up this opportunity now only to have to dig up the road again later.
“We don’t know how long (it will take to replace the pipe) yet, have to get the final numbers first,” Pierce said.
Replacing the pipe will take roughly two weeks, but it could delay the overall project by as much as a week, project manager Aaron Beckworth said.
Murph advised Beckworth that it may be wise to bring on more help to speed the project along.
He could do that, Beckworth said, but more workers will bring more equipment and will take up more parking spaces.
Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2016 revenue was supposed to fund the project, but it’s since exceeded its $600,000 budget. The revised cost of the project is $807,000.
Phase 1 of the project includes multiple phases itself, but the ultimate goal of the first overall phase is to drain water from the village into a retention pond in the King City neighborhood.
Phase 2, on a list of proposed SPLOST 2020 projects, would include finding the most effective means to get excess stormwater from the pond out to sea.