If you've been anywhere near the University of Alabama campus or on the Strip in Tuscaloosa this month, you've probably noticed that work is well underway on the city's 230-foot tall, million-gallon water tower at the intersection of Campus Drive and Riverside Drive.

In an interview with the Tuscaloosa Thread, the city of Tuscaloosa's Interim Executive Director of Infrastructure and Public Services Jarrod Milligan said construction of the tower and tank should wrap up by February 2022, but work on water lines to and from the tower will likely continue until next Fall.

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The project's announcement made headlines last June and the internet had a field day laughing at the prospect of a football-shaped water tower being erected less than a mile from Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Milligan said he didn't really understand the public's fascination with the project. He said the tank will be shaped like a spheroid, not necessarily a football, but semantics aside, the new water tower will bring good things to the area.

Firstly, he said, the tank will increase and normalize water pressure on the University campus and in surrounding areas. Milligan said water pressure varies throughout the day based on customer usage, but the tank will make things more consistent at and around UA.

Secondly, the tower and tank will significantly improve fire flow in the area -- that's the volume of water available to fight fires at any given time.

At the time of its announcement last year, the project was expected to cost just over $7 million, with $6.6 million funded by the city and another $650,000 coming from the University.

Milligan said a spike in material prices has driven the tower's cost up considerably. He will soon request an additional $4 million from the city for its completion, with the final total price tag somewhere in the neighborhood of $11 million.

Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for updates on the tower's development as they become available and for photos of the finished product when construction wraps up and the Tide's iconic script A is painted on its exterior.

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