I have noticed the new entrance at the Marianna Airport has been built in a workmen like manner in a relatively short time with very little interference into traffic flow. The same can be said for the street work being done on the east and south side of the courthouse.
I also noticed how many of the streets in town have been torn up and left almost impassable for several weeks. So, I decided to see if I could learn what causes this disparity.
Last Wednesday, 10/22/10, I visited with Frank Bell, Superintendent for I.C. Contractors of Panama City, the general contractor for a new water distribution system for Marianna. I also visited with David Sloan, President of Baxter's Asphalt Company, the paving and grading subcontractor.
At the meeting of the Historic Trust last Monday night, a review of old Marianna was made using old photographs and the journal of Milton Smith. In that, we learned the water system was begun about 1900. When I came here in 1953 the system was owned by Florida Public Utilities. The city would not give them rate increases that would allow them to properly expand the system as the city grew, but required them to expand it anyway. They did the least they could to get by some of the lines were as small as Â¾" and barely under the ground. No "as built drawings" were made, so, today no one knows the location of most of the existing lines. The plans for the new system are drawn as if there are no existing lines.
Generally speaking, here is what happens in installing the new system. When a street is selected by the engineer and city, Baxter's removes the asphalt. They have run into a great deal of concrete and other unknown materials they have also had to remove which has somewhat delayed the job. After that is done, I.C. then digs a ditch about 2' wide and 3.5' deep. The smallest pipe they install is 4" in diameter that must be at least 3' below the surface. After it is connected and covered with soil that has been properly compacted they bring the pressure up to 150 lbs which must be held for at least 2 hours.
Samples of the water are then sent to a lab to assure it is bacteria free. This usually takes about a week. After this is returned it is sent to D.E.P. for approval this usually takes about 3-4 weeks. This testing process usually results in about 6 weeks of downtime in which no work is done on the street.
If an unexpected problem develops the engineer and the contractor work out a solution and a sketch is made. This is added to the final drawings that are given to the city at the conclusion of the project so the city may always know where the pipelines are located.
The contractor is to keep both old and new systems useable. After all testing has been done and approved the old line is disconnected. This requires specially trained mechanics and equipment. There is a spot at the corner of Daniels Street and Liddon Street that is awaiting this operation. As soon as that is done Baxter's will come in and grade the dirt street to 7.5" below the finished grade. When this has been properly compacted they will install 6" of lime rock. When this has been compacted and tested they will install 1.5" of asphalt.
I.C. will install new meters and meter boxes at all outlets and the job will be complete.