St. Johns Quarter residents to benefit from improved storm water drainage

St. Johns Quarter residents to benefit from improved storm water drainage
Residents of Villa Riva Condos have a birds-eye view of the drainage project at River Boulevard and Osceola Street.

For the next four months, residents on Osceola Street in Riverside will continue to be inconvenienced by road closures, noise, and torn-up sidewalks as the City of Jacksonville completes a six-month project to replace a collapsing storm drain leading from Riverside Avenue to the St. Johns River.

The street is also collapsing due to failure of the original brick sewer. Normal storm water drainage is not efficient since the systems in place are inadequate and too old, according to project documents.

The project was put into the Capital Improvements Plan in 2015, well before Hurricane Irma’s storm surge flooded the St. Johns Quarter – a historic  neighborhood located in a two-by-two block area between Riverside Avenue and the St. Johns River and between Stockton Street and Goodwin Street.

The project will rebuild the drainage system from Riverside Avenue to the St Johns River, according to Tom Fallin, City Engineer.

The nearly $366,744.17 project was awarded to Kirby Development in July 2017 and consists of  removing the existing brick storm sewer, existing inlets, curb and gutter and sidewalks along Osceola, then installing a new drainage system with inlets to provide adequate drainage for the two-block segment. Osceola Street will be reconstructed along with curb and gutter and paver sidewalks to match the historical area requirements.

The contractor will also install two new fire hydrants and 10 new individual service connections to the homes on Osceola Street.

The Jacksonville Energy Authority will replace and upgrade 625 linear feet of an existing 2-inch water main with a new 6-inch water main. That portion of the project is estimated at $127,455.60 for a total project cost of $494,199.77.

Some of the existing sanitary sewer services will also be replaced with new PVC sewer services to the property line, according to Greg Corcoran, JEA spokesperson. “Once completed, this project will increase water pressure, provide for better water/sewer service reliability and additional fire protection,” he noted.

Although notices were sent to affected property owners prior to project initiation, several residents weren’t happy with the timing of the project coming on the heels of clean-up after the Sept. 11 hurricane and storm surge through the neighborhood, according to Mike Pyne, who lives two doors down from the corner of Osceola Street and St. Johns Avenue.

According to Fallin, a community meeting was held the week of Oct. 30 to address the concerns. Pyne said thus far construction workers have been highly responsive to any inadvertent damage caused during the project, citing one instance when a backhoe clipped a wrought iron fence. “The homeowner wasn’t there so they asked me to convey their desire to repair it promptly,” said Pyne.

The construction schedule notes anticipated completion of the drainage portion by the end of the year, with pavement replacement beginning in January and project completion in late March, early April 2018.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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