Westover to get replacement water main, fire hydrants

Shelby County is paying for the city of Westover to get a new water main along Highway 55. The new water main will replace a water main that is too small to install fire hydrants, said Mayor Mark McLaughlin.

“We have a major issue with undersized water lines,” he said. “Our water system was originally built for 150 families, and we’ve significantly outgrown that.”

The new water main will measure 26,500 feet and will include approximately 19 fire hydrants along Highway 55. Eventually, the project will also include a new water main along Old Highway 280 in Westover.

Construction of the Highway 55 water main will probably begin in early 2009, McLaughlin said.

The county will open bids on the project Sept. 4. Westover does not have to contribute any funds for the new water main, McLaughlin said.

The city has also found a site for the planned fire station and has received a command car for the current temporary fire station.

The temporary station is at the corner of Highway 51 and Old Highway 280. The planned station will be on Old Highway 280, half a mile west of the temporary station.

“The department site was important because Old 280 is such a central part of town,” McLaughlin said.

He said the land chosen for the station is already owned by the city, so the site just needs some work to be ready for construction. Building the station is a year away, McLaughlin said.

“We are at the very front end of that,” he said. “It was property we could secure without having to pay for it. We are looking to be able to bring things into the city as cost-effectively as possible.

The new fire station command car follows the same cost-effective plan. The vehicle is actually a used Shelby County Sheriff’s Office patrol car that has been given to the city of Westover.

McLaughlin said it wasn’t really a goal to suddenly make things happen for the fire department. Most of the projects happening now are the result of a long process, he said.

“There really wasn’t anything orchestrated,” he said. “We’ve been working on hydrants and a fire station site for years.”

The town is in the process of putting together a fire chief selection committee to find a leader for the fire department.

The town’s personnel contract with Cahaba Valley Fire Department expires this fall, and the town will either have a fire chief by then or the personnel contract will be extended by a few months while the fire chief search continues, McLaughlin said.