A nearly $12.8 million construction contract has been approved for the planned U.S. 421 water and sewer utility project that is expected to make available land along the industrial corridor more marketable for business.
During its meeting Wednesday morning, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) Board approved awarding the construction contract to T.A. Loving Company, a Goldsboro-based construction firm, according to officials with CFPUA.
The project will bring water and sewer facilities to the industrial corridor along U.S. 421 to the Pender County line. The county and utility authority previously partnered on the planning and design of the project, according to documents in the CFPUA agenda. It's a project that has been in the works over the past three years.
County and regional economic development leaders have said
the project is critical to further development of the industrial corridor along U.S. 421, and is the key to making those sites shovel-ready to entice companies. According to CFPUA documents about the project, there is nearly 1,000 acres of developable land available for future industries in the project area.
In the Garner Report – an economic development target analysis report for the city and county done by consulting firm Garner Economics in 2014 – recommended extending water and sewer infrastructure to develop more industrial sites that can be marketed for potential users.
“It’s an exciting project for the authority as well as New Hanover County. And bringing water and sewer services to that corridor is a good development tool to attract businesses and industries to that area,” Carel Vandermeyden, director of engineering for Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, said Wednesday.
Water infrastructure for the project includes bringing 35,000 feet of water main, multiple railroad and N.C. Department of Transportation roadway crossings and fire hydrants to the corridor, as well as 37,000 feet of sewer force main and three pump stations.
It also includes bringing lines under the Northeast Cape Fear River and Fishing Creek near the Pender County line, according to documents.
Funding for the project is coming from the CFPUA's Capital Improvement Program. A portion of funds is also coming from the county, which will fund about $1.6 million over the next three years, beginning in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
The project is slated to be complete by late 2019. Vandermeyden said the utility expects to have boots on the ground by mid-March. The project overall involves about 18 months of construction, followed by testing, which could take up to 60 days, he said.