College Avenue sewer line work set to begin

·3 min read

Jun. 23—BLUEFIELD — A major collaborative project to update sewer lines on College Avenue will begin on Monday.

The City of Bluefield, the Town of Bluefield, Va. and the Sanitary Board are all working together on the joint project, which will replace about 1,900 feet of 15-inch and 8-inch clay sewer pipe on the north side of College Avenue in both states.

That clay sewer pipe has been in use since the 1930s and will be replaced with PVC and ductile iron piping for traffic bearing loads.

When the work starts Monday the major area impacted will be at the intersection of College Avenue and Leatherwood Lane.

According to the city, motorists should expect traffic delays in this area and use alternate routes when possible.

Shannon Bailey, executive director of the Sanitary Board, said planning for the joint venture began last year.

In April, Bailey gave Bluefield City Board members a rundown of what had happened to lead up to being ready to start work on the project this year.

"We started Phase I in 2018 at the intersection of Maryland and College," he said, replacing a "very bad" section of pipe, then moving on College Avenue toward the state line.

"We have several issues with that area in terms of the main line sewer that runs along College," he said, noting signs of "stress wear" in the about 90-year-old line and some sections starting to fail.

Bailey said the initial plan was to bid the project out in sections and do the work on the rest of the work on College Avenue that way.

But when the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding was announced last year, Bailey said the decision was made to bid the entire project out at one time to save money.

Bluefield is receiving a total of $4.1 million in ARPA funding, money that can be used for infrastructure projects, so an application could be made to Bluefield, Va. as well for some of those funds.

"We also have capital funding we have built in our budget," he said, about $2.3 million.

Bailey said all of the design and preliminary work was done and the project went out to bid, with the low bid at $1.6 million, with $1.3 million of that already allocated from the Sanitary Board's capital funding.

That leaves a shortfall of about $300,000, he added.

Bailey said he had a commitment from Bluefield, Va. for $100,000 and he asked Bluefield City Board to commit $200,000 toward the project to get it started.

The board agreed to commit the money.

"This is a pretty good deal for our ARPA funds," said City Manager Cecil Marson. "We worked with the Town of Bluefield. We worked with the Sanitary Board. We pulled resources to get the project done faster and better."

Marson said it is a path all entities want to go down to collectively and "wisely use these funds for the betterment of all."

The city is paying more than Bluefield, Va., because more of the project is on the West Virginia side, he added.

"It's a good partnership," Marson said.

— Contact Charles Boothe at

Contact Charles Boothe at