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Mitchell Road disruptions coming
Disruptions to southbound Mitchell Road traffic will occur during most of February because of a $472,000 contract to upgrade the sewer system serving the northeast section of Ceres.

Motorists may want to avoid the block next to Barbour's Save Center at Mitchell Road and Whitmore Avenue during the expected 15 to 20 days of construction. Construction is expected to start Feb. 5.

City Engineer Toby Wells said the project will remedy a sewer "bottleneck" at the location which "has been an operational challenge."

Most of the wastewater from Eastgate and other areas of northeast Ceres makes its way down the Mitchell Road line by gravity flow. The project will install a force main designed to push more flow toward the treatment plant at the southwest corner of Ceres. Currently the city has only one pump at the lift station

"It eliminates the bigger problem operating with no safety net," said Wells. "There will be two pumps versus one and we'll be increasing capacity."

On occasions where flow exceeded capacity, wastewater has overflowed into Mitchell Road.

Wells said spot locations on Mitchell Road will be closed to allow for work between Whitmore Avenue and Don Pedro Road.

In an attempt to shorten the construction period - since it affects traffic on one of Ceres' busiest roads - the city is offering Preston Pipelines a $3,000 per day incentive for finishing up earlier than the 21 days allotted. Wells said that could mean the contractor works in multiple shifts.

The incentive program, which is capped at $30,000, is modeled after one routinely used by Caltrans to speed up work, said Wells.

The project is one of the last to be funded by the Ceres Redevelopment Agency. The state of California has abolished redevelopment agencies as a way of seizing coffers for the state budget.