Aging pipes are responsible for water main breaks, leaks, lost water, and multiple water-related issues. The City initiated the substantial project of replacing and upgrading the water, sewer, and storm drain systems within the Central Business District, which includes Second and Third Streets NW from Main Avenue to Second Avenue NW, Trade Alley, First Avenue NW, and Second Avenue NW between Second Street and Third Street. Aging infrastructure has become a complex issue across the United States. Hickory, like most other cities, has some water and sewer lines that are around 100 years old. In 2016, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) graded drinking water infrastructure as a D and wastewater infrastructure as a D+ nationwide. Water and wastewater infrastructure are vital components of modern day society and maintaining that infrastructure is paramount for prosperity, continued growth, and revitalization of any city.
The construction contract was awarded to Hickory Sand Company with a total project cost of $4.7 million. This necessary work for the City created an excellent opportunity for partnership with Charter/Spectrum and Piedmont Natural Gas to install new, as appropriate, and/or replace existing infrastructure. Since the streets had to be dug up to replace the existing infrastructure, Charter/Spectrum pursued laying the fiber optic cable with the scheduled infrastructure project to allow for options to improve connectivity for businesses and offices. The new internet capabilities are a welcome addition to current downtown businesses and are expected to draw new businesses into downtown. This infrastructure improvement project supports existing business property and investment and encourages future economic opportunities.