02-01 roadwork-02

City crews removing the concrete road at North Jackson Street. When they are done, a contractor will replace the old water lines with new PVC pipes, increasing water pressure and quality for residents.

In one of the largest public works project in recent decades, Palestine city workers are tearing up nearly eight blocks of North Jackson Street – the old Texas 19 thoroughfare – to install new water lines and replace aging, concrete road. City workers on Friday started replacing the concrete street with a temporary base layer of dirt and rocks.

This project, including $230,000 for water line replacement, is part of the city's decade-long effort to replace aging water mains throughout Palestine, some of which are more than 100 years old. Replacing crumbling water lines also will enable more multi-story construction.

Owing to mineral buildup and frequent patching, antique water mains reduce water quality and pressure.

Athens Contracting will replace the old asbestos concrete water lines under North Jackson Street with 8-inch PVC plastic lines, immediately improving water quality and pressure to neighborhood residents, Utilities Director Felipe Garcia told the Herald-Press Friday. Contracting with Athens to do the water main work frees up city crews for other other sorely needed projects.

Workers should complete the entire project this spring. “It might take a little while, and that might cause some inconvenience,” Garcia said, “but I'm sure people will be happy with the finished product.”

City street and utility workers continue to identify areas most in need of water and wastewater upgrades, as well as roadwork, City Manager Leslie Cloer told the Herald-Press.

Streets Director Mark Fletcher said equipment purchased last year enabled city workers to demolish the streets far more quickly. “We're better suited to do the job in-house now,” Fletcher said. “The crew is excited about it; they're ready to go.”

Using city crews to demolish the streets also saved tens of thousands of dollars, Fletcher said.

He asked drivers for patience: “I know it's frustrating, but once we're through, residents will be proud of the finished product.”

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