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Contractor scrambles to reopen Swann

A company hired to lay wastewater pipe will earn $5,000 each day it finishes ahead of schedule and lose $5,000 each day it runs late.

Published June 6, 2003

You may not realize it when you're zigzagging around the closed portion of Swann Avenue, but the contractor doing the work is even more eager to get things back to normal.

The city will pay Rockdale Pipeline $5,000 for each day it finishes ahead of a 14-day schedule.

And if Rockdale falls behind, it will forfeit the same amount.

"We recognize this is a heavily traveled road and one of the few east-west connectors in South Tampa," said Eric Weiss, project manager for the city's wastewater department.

Swann Avenue from Fremont to Rome avenues was closed Monday so Rockdale could extend a 30-inch reclaimed water pipeline.

The pipe is part of the city's $28-million plan to bring treated wastewater to South Tampa. Georgia-based Rockdale is getting paid $9.4-million to lay the main line.

"This is the backbone of the system," Weiss said.

Roughly 4,000 cars use that stretch of Swann every day.

Electronic message boards on several streets tell motorists the work will continue through June 30, though city officials anticipate a much earlier finish.

In the meantime, city officials expect eastbound motorists to go north on Howard Avenue, east on Platt Street and then south on South Boulevard to get back to Swann.

Those heading west should turn north on South Boulevard, west on Cleveland Street and south on Armenia Avenue.

The reclaimed water lines will allow South Tampa residents to quench lawns with highly treated wastewater instead of drinking water.

The main line should be complete by late summer, the smaller lines by year's end.

In related news, city officials say another contractor is making progress on the Davis Islands portion of the water project.

The city halted work on the islands in February after workers reportedly damaged a major sewage pipe as they tried, unsuccessfully, to lay a 48-inch pipe under Seddon Channel.

The damaged portion of sewage pipe has since been removed, and the contractor may be able to try laying the pipe again in a month, said Ralph Metcalf, who directs the sanitary sewers department.

A sheet-metal dam is being installed to prevent further damage to nearby homes.

- Ron Matus can be reached at 226-3405 or

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