WASHINGTON — The Fourth Avenue sewer project continues despite a series of delays.
Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson said time has been the biggest factor in the project as crews are working to complete it as fast as possible. The original end date was Sept. 11, but due to a sewer collapse that required emergency repairs, that date has been extended to the end of October.
An old sewer, surmised to have been installed in 1890, collapsed earlier this spring. The line was underneath the railroad tracks on North Fourth Avenue.
Hinson said crews were doing normal maintenance when a sink hole opened and the line collapsed. The line is about 15 feet deep and just south of the tracks. Had it collapsed while a train was in operation, a major disaster could have occurred, he said.
The fix came with a hefty price tag of $355,690.80 because of its proximity to the railroad, Hinson said. The clay sewer line extended on either side of the collapsed portion and the city decided to have it removed as well to avoid any potential disaster in the future.
A metal case boring will be placed underneath the tracks and the new sewer line will go inside. An air gap will exist between the two to prevent any vibrations made by the tracks from bursting the pipe inside.
Although it was an expensive fix, Hinson said it was an emergency and needed to be addressed as soon as possible. With the railroad depending on that track for its daily operations, timing was of the essence.
“We’re trying to do it right rather than Band-Aid it,” he said.
Currently crews are waiting on materials to be delivered before the project can be wrapped up.
The intersection of North Fourth Avenue and East Seventh Street is the second priority for the city, he said. The intersection is expected to be open in time for school as Stewart Elementary is on North Fourth Avenue and access for students is key.