CARROLLWOOD — A countywide project to bring more fire protection to older neighborhoods will get under way in Original Carrollwood this month.
The $1.85 million project will bring 83 new hydrants to the area bordered by Lake Ellen Drive south to Busch Boulevard and from Dale Mabry Highway to west of Lake Carroll.
Now there are 41 hydrants in the area. In addition to the hydrants, 3 miles of new 6-inch water pipeline will be installed to support the new hydrants.
Capt. Ray Yeakley of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said the additional hydrants and upgrades are needed because fire standards and codes have changed. The pipelines need to be changed, he said, because there often isn't enough pressure with the existing lines.
Also, changing times have had an impact on fires.
"Back in the '60s, a lot of furniture was made of hardwood," Yeakley said. "But now a lot of it is made of particle board with lots of glues which burn readily and very fast and put off a lot more toxic fumes. Fires get started a lot quicker now and we need more water."
A fire truck holds about 750 gallons of water. The number of fire hydrants and a home's proximity to a fire station are factors in homeowner insurance rates, Yeakley said.
A public hearing will be held Tuesday to discuss the hydrant upgrades with representatives from the county, the engineering design firm and the contractor. They will tell residents what to expect during construction.
The work is expected to begin sometime next week and be completed in February 2013.
Hydrants will be placed about 500 yards apart, a new requirement for Hillsborough's residential neighborhoods, said Mark Dillman, project manager from the county's public utilities department.
"The disruption will be kept to a minimum," Dillman said. "There may be a few driveway cuts needed, but they will also be kept to a minimum."
Once the services are transferred to the new water mains, residents may experience a brief water outage, Dillman said.
The hydrant upgrades are part of a countywide effort funded by the county's Water Enterprise Capital Improvement Program.
Each year, a select community will receive the hydrant upgrades.
A $3.2 million project in the Clair-Mel community is under way to add 172 hydrants.
Over the next five years, additional hydrants will be placed in southeast Hillsborough, including an area at Bryan and Bama roads in Brandon, Sun City, Herchel Heights and the Gibsonton/Alafia River area, as well as in north Hillsborough's Northdale community. Dillman said the plan is to get the work done in that order.
The work in Original Carrollwood had been delayed because the initial contractor, Suncoast Development of Pinellas County, did not have enough women, a violation of the county's minority business enterprise program. Those guidelines are set by the federal government and require 17.9 percent minorities and 6.9 percent women working in skilled crafts and trades areas.
Dallas 1 Construction & Development of Thonotosassa is now the contractor.
Demorris A. Lee can be reached email@example.com.