West Tennessee street getting revamped


The City of Tallahassee will be making major improvements in January by upgrading the water and sewer systems along West Tennessee Street between Monroe Street and High Road. 

Construction activities will last approximately seven months, assuming there are no weather conflicts. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will also be giving Tennessee Street a new look by resurfacing the road between North Monroe Street and Ocala Road. The city hosted an informational meeting on Tuesday at the LeRoy Collins Public Library to bring awareness to citizens and businesses located along the road of the upcoming project. 

“The city’s water pipes and sewer system are 50 to 60 years old and need to be replaced,” said Chick Savering, program engineer for the Water Resources Engineering Division of Tallahassee.

To avoid the interruption of work on the newly paved road, the city is planning to upgrade the water and sewer system ahead of time so that it will not conflict with the FDOT project. 

“This project is a perfect window to replace the street’s water and sewer mains,” said Alison Faris, who is with the city’s Department of Communications. “This way will create the least impact because we are sensitive to the public.”

The majority of the construction will take place along West Tennessee Street’s northernmost travel lane seven days a week during the nighttime hours, between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., to have less impact on traffic during the day. 

The surface of the road will be patched with asphalt, and lanes will reopen at the end of the daily construction activities. The project will cost the city approximately $40 million. 

“It’s about time,” said Lee Schneider, the district manager of Moe’s Southwest Grill on Tennessee Street. “The city of Tallahassee couldn’t pick a better time to replace the water mains.”

Although some people are in favor of upgrading water and sewer pipes, Len Faulkner, the office administrator of Eye-I-Deals, raised concerns about the city implementing a major upgrade with the economy being unstable. 

“It needs to be done, but the timing isn’t right because of the situation within the economy,” Faulkner said. “I am also concerned that people are going to stay away from downtown because of construction.”

Blas Gomez, manager of the Water Resources Engineering Division, said the city is using technology that is not necessarily new but is different than what is currently used. Cast-iron water pipes will be replaced by PVC, and instead of excavating entire portions of the ailing sewer system, a rigid, fabric-like material will be inserted into the pipes, giving them a new lining that will remain even if the existing structure deteriorates.

The city of Tallahassee is planning to complete the project by July.