Street project report due soon
MANASSAS The Center Street sewer and water
project, originally scheduled to begin this summer, may be delayed until
next year so it won’t coincide with construction of the City Square project
and final linkage of the Va. 234 bypass.
A clearer picture of how the sewer and water project will unfold is expected
to emerge this month.
“We’re on schedule. We’re in the preliminary engineering phase,”
said Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Johnston. He said a preliminary
set of plans due in mid-March will be reviewed by city staff and the utility
commission, and City Council will be briefed in early April.
The project will replace 85-year-old water and sewer pipes under the
street from Grant Avenue to Zebedee Street.
Waiting for the completion of the Va. 234 bypass will give motorists
an alternative route around Old Town, he said, allowing water-and-sewer
project workers to concentrate on several blocks at a time.
The aging pipes may soon be unable to provide adequate water pressure
because their diameters have shrunk from mineral deposits, which are also
being redeposited into the drinking water, according to a 2000 report.
The sewer pipes are more brittle and susceptible to breakage as they
age, Johnston said.
The project is expected to have significant ramifications – traffic
flow in the downtown could be slowed, and businesses along Center Street
might experience some degree of service disruption.
Over the last few months, engineers surveyed the layout of buildings
and their linkages to the utilities to plan strategies block by block that
would be less intrusive to property owners, such as using trenchless technology
and digging behind businesses. “There’s a lot of options we’re looking
at,” Johnston said.
Plans are being developed with input from residents, businesses, city
staff and council.
Shutdowns in water service are inevitable in a project like this, Johnston
said. The disruptions will be minimized to block areas, he said, and disconnecting
and reconnecting pipe linkages would take a few hours of downtime.
“It’s kind of like surgery,” Johnston said. The choice is
between going in with precision that will lessen the inconvenience but drag
out the project, or only fixing a little but not have the whole problem
solved, he said.
Design work will take several months and the bidding process could be
completed in the summer. The duration of the project will not be known until
the consultant’s report is made later this month.
· Contact Chris Newman at [email protected]