Fulton officials have voted unanimously to accept a bid from Phillips Construction to begin repairing a culvert on South Adams Street that collapsed earlier this month.

The vote came during a special meeting of the Fulton Board of Aldermen, last week, in which city leaders discussed how best to fix the culvert, which runs beneath South Adams and continues east between McBride Drive and the parking lot of Senter Funeral Home. The collapse opened a sinkhole more that 20-feet in diameter on the roadside.

The city will pay Phillips Construction $49,650 to make the repair. Although state law mandates that projects with price tags of more than $5,000 go through the bidding process under normal circumstances, it does allow municipal leaders to bypass that process during emergencies. Fulton leaders say they fear delaying the repair of the culvert and sinkhole could cause further damage to South Adams Street.

Deterioration of the existing 25-year-old pipe, coupled with erosion, led leaders to begin looking at replacing the culvert earlier this year. City officials elected to replace with metal pipe with a plastic one, and use city workers to do a bulk of the work in an effort to save money.

As the project neared completion, the band connecting the new culvert loosened, causing the dirt work to begin to collapse after heavy rainfall.

The initial cost of the project was approximately $26,000: $10,000 for an excavator to dig down 18 feet and $16,000 to purchase and install new 36-inch pipe. The labor was picked up by the city’s street department.

Mid-July’s heavy rainfall caused mud and debris to fill the new pipe and flood McBride Drive and Rogers Drive, prompting multiple street closures. Floodwaters came critically close to an electrical meter and telephone pedestals, forcing city worker to pump standing water out before it reached either.

City workers have since roped the area off and covered the walls of the hole with plastic to help prevent it from caving any further.

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