City of Sanford’s Moncure Megasite Receives ACEC Engineering Excellence Award

Project Manager Scott Haberstroh, center; Senior Advisor Bryan Jann and Charles Archer, far right; with City of Sanford staff members Hal Hegwer, Vic Czar and Paul Weeks.

For 50 years, the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of North Carolina has given Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) to consulting firms for projects that demonstrate an excep­tional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement and value. This year, Freese and Nichols, Inc., is honored to receive the EEA for the Moncure Megasite Sewer Extension in Category F, Wastewater and Stormwater.

As rapid growth in the Triangle Region spreads to outlying communities such as Lee and Chatham counties, reliable utility service is essential to attracting new industrial/commercial developments. In today’s highly competitive market, the City of Sanford has been forward-thinking in their approach to attracting growth by identifying ideal locations for development and expanding water/wastewater infrastructure accordingly. The Moncure Megasite, an undeveloped site in Chatham County, had all the infrastructure needed to be certified by the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina — except wastewater service.

By proactively accepting the financial risk of extending wastewater service to the Megasite — not even in the same county — Sanford has positioned itself well for new development. The City of Sanford partnered with Freese and Nichols to design a wastewater system in an accelerated timeframe. The project includes two lift stations (2.5 and 3 MGD), 56,800 LF of force main, and 9,100 LF of sanitary sewer main.

Due to the volatile construction market, the bids came in at more than $8M higher than the original estimate of $10.5M. Due to the importance of the project, Freese and Nichols proceeded with extensive value engineering to lower the project cost. This was done by cooperation/negotiation between the Owner, utility companies and contractors to identify potential savings – resulting in a cost decrease of $4.6M.

Freese and Nichols helped secure $5.5M in grants from the Golden LEAF Fund program, which stipulated project completion in two years, and coordinated all the intergovernmental stakeholders, which resulted in an agreement between Chatham County and Sanford. Chatham County will share 20% of the net increase in property values for new development served by the new sewer system through 2068. Both also agreed to share in funding the project and property tax revenues generated by new development served by the new wastewater extension.

Arauco, an industry located in Moncure that was contemplating permitting/siting their own treatment plant, was willing to help financially and provide land for the lift station. The project team also coordinated a unique arrangement with Duke Energy to use a portion of their cross-country transmission easement to reduce the lengths of piping required and minimize the land clearing and environmental impacts.

The project design involved balancing flexibility and functionality for unknown future loads and developments, which made determining the size of the system a major challenge. Freese and Nichols’ design creativity allowed for future expansions while keeping the project affordable. Ultimately, the project team fast-tracked the design, had the site permitted and acquired easements in six months.

In recent months, two major companies, Bharat Forge Aluminum USA and Audentes Therapeutics, announced plans and begun the process of building new facilities in Sanford. The City also is benefitting from multiple major residential developments, which are in various stages of planning/design/construction, that will provide thousands of additional single-family homes and attract the skilled labor force these companies require.


Read more in the Sanford Herald:

Project Innovation Details:

Sewer Extension Unlocks Megasite’s Economic Potential

Through extensive stakeholder coordination and innovative design and bidding processes, Freese and Nichols helped provide the last piece of the puzzle to position the Megasite as the region’s next large-scale industrial facility.

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