Water Street Closes For 5 Weeks
"It's going to be noisy, there are going to be vibrations," as sewer line replacement hits Water Street.
Work to replace the 90-year-old Water Street sewer line is going to get a whole lot more disruptive for those who live and work in that area. Although the project began in September, it is finally going to spill out onto Water Street by the Barbara Tufts Playground this week, prompting Water Street to be closed between Lion and Queen streets for up to five weeks.
According to the original plan, work on the sewer line was to have been completed by now. But weather events such as Hurricane Sandy (and even last weekend's blizzard), and persistent groundwater slowed work.
The work is being done by William Anthony Excavating for a total price of $1.8 million.
William Anthony spent much of the fall battling the groundwater, bringing in larger and larger machines to pump the water out. The line under the playground and Water Street by the playground is 30 feet down, requiring sheet piles, said DPW head Joe Duarte.
That's why the street will have to be closed for weeks. Once the work has moved down closer to the cove itself, the line will be easier to access.
"It's going to be noisy, there are going to be vibrations," Duarte said, conceding the work will be unpleasant for those who live and work in the area.
But, he continued, "it's critical – we need to fix that sewer line."
At issue are the old clay pipes, which are being replaced with PVC, a strong plastic that should last many decades.
"This is as a result of overflows and requirements of the EPA," Duarte told the Town Council at a meeting in April. Water Street has had problems for many years.
The money to replace the line comes from a $5 million bond passed by voters in 2007. By using a state "revolving fund," the town gets a lower interest rate, Duarte said, in this case about one point under prime. While the project has taken far longer than expected, the cost for that is being borne by William Anthony.
Concurrent with the sewer line project, water pipes along Water Street are being replaced, with a cost to KCWA of $172,000.
And time is running out to get all the work done during the off season. Duarte said he expects the contractor to work weekends for the first few weeks. It's February, and by April, he said, boaters will want to start getting their boats in the water and businesses will reopen.
"We ask for everybody's patience," he said. "It's going to be very intrusive on people's way of life, but it's critical."