City Transit Project Heads Into ‘Deep End’
Reservoir Work To Kick Off Construction
Posted: December 13, 2012
HARRISONBURG — Officials recognize the challenging road ahead in building Harrisonburg transit’s new $16 million home on East Washington Street.
The process, scheduled to begin Monday, starts by converting a pair of abandoned 18-foot-deep reservoirs into one massive parking lot and laying 600 feet of pipe for storm drainage.
“It’s going to be a juggling act to do the job,” said Kenneth Wilson, the project superintendent from Shockey and Sons Inc. in Winchester. “It is a very, very tight site. It’s a unique job. … The building itself, it’s no different. That’s right down our alley.”
The Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation, which operates from one facility at 475 E. Washington St., will have separate administrative and maintenance buildings at the same city-owned, 13-acre site when all work is finished.
The completion date is expected to be in May 2014.
The first step will take 10 weeks and involve tearing down a wall to connect the reservoirs, which sit atop a hill underneath two water towers near the intersection of East Washington and Vine streets. The stormwater pipes also will be installed.
In 2009, the newest tank, with a capacity of 8 million gallons, replaced the last reservoir, which could hold 16 million gallons of water. A water treatment plant on Grandview Drive, just west of the city limits on U.S. 33, feeds the towers.
Once the reservoirs connect, a parking lot will be created to serve the department’s roughly 160 employees and its fleet of more than 80 vehicles, which includes city school buses.
The new administrative building will be built close to East Washington Street, taking a chunk out of the hill. Its second floor will open to the new parking lot, Transportation Director Reggie Smith said.
The new maintenance building will go about 40 feet behind the existing transit center, which will be demolished for more parking and fuel tanks once construction is finished.
More Space, Efficiency
The current building, which is about 19,000 square feet, lacks space and is not energy-efficient because it is more than 30 years old, Smith said.
Features of the new transit center — the maintenance building alone will be 25,000 square feet — include more efficient lighting.
Shockey’s final price for construction is $15.9 million, Smith said. A feasibility study estimated the expense would be $27 million, he noted.
The city’s financial commitment to the project is $8.1 million, while grants cover the rest of the costs.
Wilson said he’ll use about 20 contractors — mostly local — and as many as 50 workers will be on-site at any given time during construction.
During the work on the reservoirs, Smith said about 20 buses will park at Smithland Elementary and Skyline Middle schools, while some drivers will park their buses at home.
Buses also will go off-site from East Washington Street for fuel during construction.
Despite high costs associated with site work — estimated at $1.3 million — Smith said the project will be worth it for Harrisonburg over the long haul.
“It’s city land,” he said, “and this is a good location.”
Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or firstname.lastname@example.org