Tampa pipe replacements to curb water main messes - FOX 13 News

Tampa pipe replacements to curb water main messes

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Frankland Road's reputation as a quiet street is gone, for now.

"It's the noise; it's the dirt," said neighbor Ken McIlvaine. "There's dirt all over the house now."

For three weeks, workers have been carving up Frankland to get 70-year-old pipes out and new ones in.

"It doesn't get any more important than providing water to the citizens," said Brad Baird, the head of the City of Tampa Water Department.

Last year, the city started with pipes near Kennedy Boulevard because they were the oldest and most in need.

Now, they're hitting South Tampa on Frankland, then starting between Bay to Bay and El Prado Boulevards.

"It costs about $1 million a mile to replace pipe," said Baird. "We have a long list of needs, especially in South Tampa."

City water customers are footing the annual bill of $10 to $15 million.

In 2015, they’ll likely work on neighborhoods near Bayshore Boulevard, following with others around Henderson in 2016 and then Westshore in 2017.

Emergency replacements cost more, so doing it in advance is critical, before last week's scene on Armenia becomes more frequent.

"It becomes more cost-effective to replace it, rather than to keep fixing it and fixing it. I liken that to an old car," said Baird. "At some point, it's just better to go ahead and get a new one."

The pipes being fixed underneath Frankland have been in place since World War II and have started springing leaks more frequently.

This project will take several more weeks, as crews work to finish their 2014 checklist, so they can start on 2015, and '16, and '17 and '18.

"I guess it's coming your way, so you're going to have to put up with it like we are," said McIlvaine.

The good news is, there are no rate increases on tap because the bill has already been paid.

Rates went up every year from 2007 to 2011 to pay for this capital project.

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