The West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) hopes to go to bid in early 2024 on a project to replace a dozen storm sewer lines in the Kanawha County town of Rand.
The WVDOH will hold an informational public workshop from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at the Rand Community Center to discuss upcoming plans for the storm sewer replacement project. The project involves rebuilding much of the existing storm sewer system and adding additional outlets into the Kanawha River.
Part of the town of Rand is built on top of a slough – a low-lying area along the river where water tends to collect before slowly draining off. Doug Kirk, P.E., WVDOH Chief Engineer of Environmental Compliance, said development of the town initially avoided the slow-draining slough area, but as the years went by streets and buildings began to be built in the slough, leading to drainage problems.
On top of that, the hodgepodge of storm sewers built over the years are now failing, leading to flooding in the unincorporated community of Rand. Because the streets of Rand have been taken into the WVDOH highway system, maintenance of the streets is the responsibility of the WVDOH.
“We own the streets, and the pipes are on our right-of-way,” Kirk said.
A consulting engineering firm conducted a study he WVDOH in 2019 to figure out how to best address the drainage problems in Rand. The study recommends replacing the storm sewer system and adding additional outlets to the river to improve drainage.
But the WVDOH can’t replace Rand’s storm sewers overnight. The WVDOH must make sure the plans comply with environmental regulations, and the WVDOH has to obtain rights-of-way to run some of the lines.
A right-of-way agreement allows an entity like the WVDOH to come onto property owned by someone else to do work, like digging a ditch to put in a sewer pipe. Although the WVDOH owns the streets in Rand, it doesn't own the alleys, so the WVDOH will need to make right-of-way agreements to put drains, sewer lines or utility access points in the alleys. In some places it may also be necessary to dig under a sliver of someone’s yard.
The WVDOH hopes to have final plans drawn up for the storm sewer project by January 2024, and go to bid in February. Estimated cost of the project is $12 million.