FLORENCE — The City Council approved an $1.1 million emergency expenditure on Monday to replace a culvert at Darby Drive and Decatur Avenue.
The $1,134,400 contract with Shotcrete of America was approved during a brief called meeting.
The contract calls for work to be finished in 120 working days, City Engineer Bill Batson said.
"The contractor thinks he can beat that time," Batson said. "He has got to order the culvert sections and the manholes that are prefabricated. He's going to place the order as soon as he has a signed contract.
"He can start work on the project even while he's waiting for the pipe sections and the manhole section to come in."
Decatur Avenue has been closed since Feb. 15 due to structural issues.
District 4 City Councilwoman Michelle Eubanks said the culvert is part of several hundred feet of a 7-by-7-foot box culvert that extends under the Florence Plaza Shopping Center and Florence Boulevard.
"These are very heavily traveled areas," Eubanks said.
Funds from the city's 1-cent sales tax increase that took affect earlier this year will pay for the contract, city officials said.
"This is good use of the sales tax funds," Eubanks said. "It's being put to its highest and best use for this project."
She said portions of Decatur and Courtney avenues will be repaved as part of the project.
"I appreciate the city engineer for his work on this, and I appreciate the council coming together like this to make it happen as it has become an emergency situation," Eubanks said.
Council members asked Batson about the condition of the section beneath Darby Drive. He responded it is in good shape.
"I'm not anticipating there will be any interruption to Darby Drive at this time," he said.