Over the course of the last few months of the 2012-13 school year, the DeKalb County High School's General Metals Class has partnered with the DeKalb County Fire Department to complete a very important project that increases the capabilities of three of the department's tanker trucks. The project entailed planning, fabricating, and installing storage racks on our tanker trucks for the portable folding water tanks that the department uses to supply water in areas where hydrants are not readily available. This ability is vitally important in order for the department to be able to maintain adequate water supplies that meet the Insurance Services Office (ISO) minimum criteria for water supply. "In order to maintain and improve our county's fire protection rating, we have to demonstrate that we can provide water supplies that can allow us to flow at least 250 gallons per minute for a constant 2-hour period. This equipment will greatly enhance our ability to do that," says Chief Donny Green.
Todd Cantrell, General Metals Class Instructor, and Steve Repasy, DeKalb County Firefighter, planned and directed the project from start to finish. Repasy contributed about 50 hours of design and development. In total, Repasy and other firefighters donated 64 hours of installation labor. According to Cantrell, the class performed about 160 hours in fabricating the tank racks.
Chief Green says he wants to personally express the department's thanks to the following individuals for making significant contributions:
Todd Cantrell and DCHS General Metals Class (fabrication and labor)
Steve Repasy, DeKalb County Firefighter (Project Director)
Tracy Foutch, Foutch Industries (painting)
Phil Boner (painting)
Brian Williams, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)
Captain Michael Lawrence, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)
Jeremy Neal, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)
Lieutenant David Agee, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)
Stan Morris, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)
In combination, the class and other volunteers donated a total of about 274 man hours and services for this project allowing the cost of this project on all three tankers to be less than $400 total; solely for materials. Green says that purchasing such racks from a fire service equipment vendor, and having them installed, would have easily cost the county fire department a minimum of $5,000.
Construction on the new Sligo bridge should begin within a few weeks.
The contractor who was awarded the bid on the project, Massman Construction of Kansas City, Missouri is starting to set up the staging area at the Highland Trail (Dubland) Boat Ramp near Riverwatch to gain access to the lake in getting barges to work from down to the bridge. The boat ramp is now closed to the public until construction is completed.
Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Regional Community Relations Officer, told WJLE Wednesday that Massman has until June 2016 to get the new bridge completed. "A lot of people don't realize that work has started on this project but you are not seeing anything yet. We had a pre-construction conference on May 22 and after that the contractor, Massman Construction of Kansas City, Missouri began staging their equipment. What that will consist of is getting their equipment to where they can be able to work in the water and get their barges in the water to begin construction in earnest on the brand new bridge. To do this, they are utilizing the Riverwatch community and the Mountain Harbor community to move their equipment. That's where the staging area is. They'll have to go through those neighborhoods. I would caution anyone in those neighborhoods to watch out for some large trucks, probably the next month or so. We did have a meeting with the neighborhood leaders after the pre-construction meeting to inform them of the plans. Once they get things in place, the extra traffic should calm down. They will see some traffic go through their neighborhood occasionally but it won't be anything like it probably is right now," said Flynn.
"This is a $38.9 million dollar project and it's slated for completion in June 2016. But the contractor has a very aggressive schedule and they hope to have things completed before then. We look forward to it. People will soon see barges in the water and that is when they will really get started in earnest on the actual construction of the brand new bridge. I look forward to that bridge being finished and I know the people of DeKalb County also do because they have been waiting a long time for a brand new bridge. It certainly will be a refreshing change for them to be able to fish and look up and not see nets hanging down from a bridge," said Flynn.
Massman Construction, at $38,903,917 had the lowest of the six bids submitted for the project.
The new bridge will be built next to the existing one. Once the new bridge is completed, the existing bridge will be removed. "We will maintain traffic on the existing bridge and once the new bridge is constructed we'll move traffic to the new bridge and then they will demolish the old bridge," said Flynn.