By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
    In the past year and a half, the engineering firm of Volkert Inc. has designed approximately five miles of water main for Illinois American Water Co.
    Engineering Operations Manager Dave Holloway, of Volkert’s Collinsville office, said the largest of these projects was completed in late spring of 2017. The French Village water main transmission project extends from the intersection of Illinois Route 161 and Lebanon Road, south to Lewellyn Drive in Belleville.
    The majority of the work was completed along Dutch Hollow Road and Illinois Route 161. It represented about 11,000 feet of 24-inch transmission main.
    “That main will serve the greater Metro East, a population of approximately 200,000,” Holloway said.
    Several factors went into the design, including the location itself along the Illinois 161 right of way.
    “That took a lot of coordination with IDOT, and was one of our challenges. From a grade elevation perspective as well as a constructability perspective, that alignment was the best alternative,” Holloway said.
    The main goal of the project was to provide redundancies in the system to ensure that customers are never without water supply.
    The French Village project construction cost around $5 million. Construction was done by Loellke Plumbing Inc., of Jerseyville. Loellke is also the contractor on the next phase of the project, which will extend the main along Dutch Hollow to the south, from Illinois 161 to Frank Scott Parkway.
    The current phase will construct a 16-inch transmission main that will alleviate pressure from the existing 24-inch segment.
    Also included in the five miles’ worth of main for the water company was work along Bunkum Road in East St. Louis, from 42nd to 45th streets, as well as along Portland Place in Washington Park.
    Volkert also designed about 4,500 feet of water main replacement along Winchester Drive in The Ogles Subdivision in Belleville.
    With ongoing state budget obstacles, fewer IDOT contracts have been advertised on recent bulletins. Volkert currently has several ongoing  projects for IDOT, but it has found steady business with utility and oil/gas clients such as American Water and Ameren, “who have been fantastic clients to work for,” Holloway said.
    “We do work all over the state of Illinois for many different types of clients,” Holloway said of the local office.
    Volkert is an employee-owned infrastructure engineering firm serving state and federal agencies, local and municipal governments, private industry and select international clients. It was established in 1925 in Mobile, Ala. It has just over 1,000 employees corporately and about 100 in its West Central Region, which is made up of Illinois, Missouri and Indiana.
    The Collinsville office opened in 2004 and performs engineering, surveying, construction inspection, real estate/land acquisition services and GIS services.
    With corporate offices in Mobile, Alabama, and Franklin, Tennessee, Volkert is active in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia, with experience and/or professional registrations throughout the United States.