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One Piece to the Mooresville Infrastructure Puzzle

An outfall improvement is another step toward solving the sanitary sewer issues of Mooresville, North Carolina.

Photos Courtesy of Willis Engineers

By Brian Alvarado

The town of Mooresville, North Carolina has seen substantial industrial and residential growth over the years, particularly in the north and the east.

When it comes to sewer sanitation, it’s vital for cities’ outfall systems to work effectively, whether having the appropriate capacity or lowering the amount of need for utility maintenance.

For Mooresville, the Rocky River Outfall Project is just one piece to the puzzle to solve capacity issues in the Northeast quadrant of the community, while also aiming to eliminate two existing public pump stations that the Town is maintaining.

The project, which broke ground on May 7, 2018, opens doors for potential industrial improvements in the future.

“This infrastructure project along with a couple of others that are currently under construction will open a relatively large undeveloped section of the Town for future development,” said Jonathan Young, Engineering Services Director of Mooresville. “Assuring the area can be served from a utility standpoint is critical to economic development in the Town.”

The plan includes the installation of 9,200 feet of 36-inch and 42-inch outfall along Rocky River and eliminates multiple pumping stations that have reached their capacity in Mooresville.

“As is the case for most gravity sanitary sewer outfalls the project is being installed along an existing stream,” added Young. “This location allows for maximum future potential use while insuring that the outfall will remain accessible for maintenance throughout its life.”

A Battle With Mother Nature

With any infrastructure project, there are a multitude of factors that could pose construction challenges to those involved.

For the Rocky River Outfall Project, workers saw completion of the project get pushed back due to inclement weather.

“Our area has received historic rainfall amounts over this past year and this type of weather can have devastating effects on a project like this,” said Young. “Fortunately, the contractor was very well prepared for this and has been able to keep the project moving.”

The project was supposed to be completed by February 1, 2019, however, the requester requested a delay that extended the project until mid-April of the same year.

That wasn’t the only challenge mother nature brought up, as initial geotechnical investigation of the area made it evident that workers would be dealing with an abundance of rock excavation and blasting.

However, Young said that the designer performed all necessary actions due diligence early in the process and established a good blueprint for the contractor to follow, thus keeping the project moving to the best extent possible.

Another significant obstacle workers faced during the process was the existence of a major gas transmission corridor that bisected the project.

“The gas company decided that the equipment that the contractor was planning to use would be too large to cross the existing gas lines,” explained Young. “Fortunately the designer and contractor were able to come up with some solutions in the field.”

Warm Reception

Whenever there is any sort of construction that can possibly interrupt daily, everyday activities in a community, there can be frustration or anger in the air.

However, for the citizens of Mooresville, Young said he thinks the project was welcomed with open arms.

“It is my belief that the community has embraced the project very well. I was able to meet with every property owner along the corridor during the early design stages and most were aware that the project had been slated to come through that area on the Town’s master plan for some years,” explained Young.

Young added that property owners were also very excited about the possibilities that would open from the project with respect to future developments.

It Takes A Team

Many key players played a major role in the completion of the Rocky River Outfall Project.

Young said that much of the success should be attributed to Mooresville’s town officials and staff.

“I would point to past and current Town of Mooresville Board of Commissioners for being visionary enough to establish a sustainable utility base and to use that utility base wisely in overall expansion of the Town’s infrastructure needs and capabilities,” said Young.

Young added that the design team should be commended for delivering a, “wonderful design that is well thought out and has allowed the contractor to do his job in a better, more efficient way.”

In regards to cost, the project cost equated to $3.3 million and was funded by Mooresville’s Utility Enterprise Fund. Despite the project being stalled for a few months, completion came under the estimated construction budget.

Other Ventures

Aside from the Rocky River project, the Mooresville Public Utilities Department had two other large utility projects that were being constructed in 2019.

One project was another gravity sewer outfall project that will serve a large portion of the southwest side of Mooresville. This project is made up of 13,750 linear feet and will serve an area that is zoned for mixed-use type of development that includes both commercial and residential.

The other project is an extension of the southwest gravity sewer outfall and will serve approximately 500 acres of area which will include light industrial, commercial, and residential purposes.

Young says that this project is expected to be, “close to a billion dollars in future economic investment.”

As Mooresville continues to improve its infrastructure through various projects, the Town is gearing up for the potential economic output as a result.

Although projects like the Rocky River outfall improvement take time, Young is proud of how the Town has handled it with a positive outlook on future developments.

“There have been very few issues and the ones that have occurred have been handled in a timely and professional manner,” said Young. “It was my wish that every project the Town undergoes would go this smoothly and efficiently.”

Brian Alvarado is the Editorial Assistant for Builder.Media. He can be reached at brian@builder.media.