Vidalia begins phase II of infrastructure project

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 14, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – In the next two years, Vidalia should have a &uot;completely new infrastructure,&uot;&160;including street overlays, enclosed ditches and replaced sewer lines, according to Mayor Hyram Copeland.

In July 1999, Vidalia voters passed a 1-cent sales tax increase to pay back $6.2 million in bonds used to fund road paving and drainage and water plant improvements.

During the first phase of the project, which started in November 1999, new filters were installed at the town’s 30-year-old water plant and streets throughout Vidalia were overlaid.

Crews from Camo Construction are now working to enclose ditches throughout town, a project that is costing more than $2 million. That is being done to improve water flow, decrease flooding and to improve the town’s appearance, Copeland said.

After that work is completed, sidewalks will be installed. Vidalia received $259,000 from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development earlier this year to build sidewalks, mostly in the eastern part of town.

Vidalia will match that with $64,750 – about $30,000 of which will come from funds left over from a $6.2 million bond issue voters passed in 1999 for infrastructure work.

&uot;In-kind&uot;&160;work – usually design and other administrative work – will make up the rest of the town’s match.

&uot;By spring of 2002, we should be finished with the drainage and sidewalk work,&uot;&160;Copeland said. &uot;We’d like to thank the people of Vidalia for being patient with us through this construction phase.&uot;

And on Tuesday, the Vidalia Town Council opened bids for replacement of sewer lines, some of which are more than 60 years old.

The bids were taken under advisement, but Copeland said the lowest bid – a $399,460 offer from Suncoast Infrastructure of Florence – will probably be accepted.

The town received a $932,000 Louisiana Community Development Block Grant to fund the work. Grant money left over could be used to expand that project.