The Board of Commissioners for the Mobile Area Water and Sewer Systems accepted bids from two contractors Monday for an estimated $1.5 million project to undertake a major sewer relining project in downtown Mobile.

The project will require an above ground bypass piping system to divert the flow of wastewater while the actual relining work will take place underground.

Because repair work will be done inside the pipe, there will be no digging in the streets. However, MAWSS spokeswoman Barbara Shaw said there will be some disruption to traffic and parking due to the route of the bypass pipe, but it should not hinder motorists for the most part.

Later this year, MAWSS plans to run a temporary, above-ground sewage line through downtown (red) while it repairs the existing underground line (green).

Later this year, MAWSS plans to run a temporary, above-ground sewage line through downtown (red) while it repairs the existing underground line (green).

“[It] should not affect access to any street,” Shaw said. “We’re trying to get in and out of there as quick as we can.”

The 42-inch diameter concrete sewer line, which was installed under Conception Street from Beauregard to Virginia streets in 1955, is showing signs of deterioration after nearly 60 years of use and in order to prevent failure of the pipe, a cured-in-place pipe will be installed to reinforce and extend the life of the sewer main that serves all of downtown.

The project, which is set to take place between the weeks after BayFest Music Festival through Thanksgiving, will extend the life of this particular pipe by 50 years, Shaw said.

“It’s a great technology,” she said.

ALDOT, along with the city of Mobile, has approved a route for the bypass line to be laid above ground. Ramps will be installed over the pipe at intersections and driveways in order for vehicles to safely cross.

While Conception Street between St. Michael and St. Louis streets will be closed to thru traffic, all downtown businesses will be accessible. In addition, the bypass will be monitored on-site 24 hours a day to insure it is operating properly.

A meeting to discuss the project with the Mobile Downtown Alliance is scheduled for Aug. 28. Shaw said Dianne Irby, the executive director of planning and development for the city of Mobile, will also attend the meeting to discuss stormwater issues.

Prichard takeover

As of Monday’s regular board meeting, MAWSS has yet to make a decision regarding their takeover of the Prichard Water Works and Sewer Board.

Though MAWSS only has until Sept. 3 to finalize a decision, Shaw said the board continues to seek information from the Prichard system and that their attorney’s are “pushing” Prichard’s attorneys.

In addition, Shaw says she doubts there will be a public discussion on the matter.

The MAWSS board has no more regularly scheduled meetings before the Sept. 3 decision must be made.

The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 8.