Augusta City councilors are poised to approve additional funding Thursday to build a fire station in north Augusta, which would keep the project moving toward completion in December, despite concerns about unstable clay soil and a permit issue relating to bats that could have delayed the project.
The timing is important because December is also the month the city’s new, $1 million multipurpose “quint” fire ladder truck is scheduled to be arrive, and the new truck is too big and heavy to fit into any of the city’s existing fire stations, officials said.
Funding of $3.6 million for the fire station and $1 million to buy the firetruck was approved by voters in November 2014.
But soil boring at the proposed site, on Leighton Road at its intersection with Anthony Avenue, revealed the soil is made up of soupy clay; and engineers expressed concern it would not be able to support the weight of the fire station and the water-laden fire trucks it will hold without the cement floor potentially cracking. So they recommend inserting steel pilings into the ground, at least 60 feet through the clay to bedrock below the station, at an estimated cost of $500,000.
Though some councilors initially expressed concerns about sticking with that site and building the station on pilings in the ground, last week those same councilors indicated they are now in favor of the proposed site.
On Thursday, councilors are scheduled to vote on whether to approve the additional funding, which is expected to keep the project on track to start construction around April and be complete in December, according to City Manager William Bridgeo.
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