It turns out Water Street is aptly named. Construction workers replacing the decades-old clay sewer pipes with new plastic pipes have battled ground water from the start. Now that they are working near the shanties, they have to reckon with the tides too.
The project closed Water Street to car traffic in February and it looks like it will be April before the street is fully open again. It had to be closed because of the structural supports in place to dig as deeply as necessary.
"We figure another week of deep excavation and then we'll be able to open up one lane of traffic at night," said Public Works director Joe Duarte. He said they hope the work will be completed enough by the end of the month, or early April to open the street to traffic during the day.
The work has been slowed by persistent ground water, which has required extensive pumping. Now that the work is being done at the level of the cove, tides have become a problem.
"It's influenced by the tide," Duarte said. "If the high tide comes in, there's a lot of pumping and very little work being done."
Here are more stories on the sewer-replacement project: