VALPARAISO | It's contract won't take effect for another couple of weeks, but G.E. Marshall already is at work on the first phase of the Chautauqua Park flood control project.
Chief Deputy City Engineer Adam McAlpine said the company started installing storm sewers this week on Avondale Avenue and George Street. On Monday it plans to close Yellowstone Road for about two weeks to install the stormwater line under the Canadian National railroad tracks and install new storm, sanitary and water lines on Yellowstone.
McAlpine said the contract wasn't supposed to begin until the city acquires the final 10-acre parcel needed for the detention pond to be build just east of St. Paul Church and the elementary school. The land acquisition is expected to be complete by mid-April, and Marshall will have 250 days from then to complete this phase of the project.
With the project expected to cause traffic disruptions through the summer as work to install storm sewers on Bond, Grove and Ridgeland avenues and nearby streets proceeds, the city has set up a page on its website for residents to get the latest information on which streets are blocked and the detours.
"It will show the locations where they are working that day and two weeks ahead," McAlpine said. "It shows the street map and where all the pipes will be, and it provides a project history to show why we are doing it and why it is a high priority project."
Chautauqua Park was put at the top of the priority list for stormwater projects after the September 2008 floods. The first phase will take care of the northern half of the neighborhood, and the city plans a second phase in 2014 for the southern half.
"I think everybody that has been affected one way or the other with flooding is aware of it and can see it happening," Councilman Joey Larr said.
Larr said his home was one of those that suffered from flooding because of sewer backups. Like many of his neighbors, he installed backflow devices to prevent water from backing up into his house. The city also installed equipment to slow the flow of water at the intakes in the streets, he said.
McAlpine said having Marshall start so quickly is "bonus time" that should help them complete everything by December. The exception might be repaving or seeding that would have to wait for next spring. By that time, the second phase will be under way. The cost of the first phase is $2.88 million.
The project Web page is at www.valpo.us and looking under the engineering department for city projects.