The Richmond Register

Local News

April 20, 2014

City awaits funds for Water Street project

Initial funding fell $1.4 million short


Richmond city officials are still awaiting word on grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the Water Street drainage project.
However, Mayor Jim Barnes said he is confident the money should come through by May 1.
“I feel more positive now,” Barnes said, adding that he had talked to the project engineer about two weeks ago.
It’s not “signed, sealed and delivered” yet, Barnes said, but the engineer has been in contact with FEMA about the project.
Money for the project to alleviate decades of downtown flooding came from a FEMA grant, along with state and local matching funds, awarded more than a year ago. However, when the project was bid, the lowest bid was nearly $1.4 million more than the $3.8 million allotted for the work.
This forced the city to go back to FEMA and ask for more money.
The project originally was to start in spring 2013. But with the shortfall in funding, the city and contractors had planned for the additional FEMA funds to come through by the fall and construction to start in November, which did not happen.
Barnes said if the additional FEMA funding is awarded by May 1, construction could begin by the end of the month.
The mayor said he has asked project engineer Harsha Wijesiri, president of Integrated Engineering, to check with the contractors on their pricing, but hasn’t received an answer yet.
The Water Street drainage project will involve cutting a deep trench across Main Street between CVS Pharmacy and Collins Street, according to information Wijesiri provided at the July meeting. Main Street would closed in that area for about two weeks during the project. 

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