All across the city, but primarily along the north-south axis — Washington Street and Centennial Avenue — that runs from Lanesville to Stacy Boulevard, work has resumed on an estimated $10 million in water system improvement projects.
”Spring has sprung,” Public Works Director Mike Hale said Thursday, “so we’re back working at all these projects.
”It’s infrastructure across the board,” he added. “The amount of water work is incredible.”
In Lanesville, the featured work is the replacement of the 20-year old Plum Cove water storage tank, which, because it was too large, kept water for too long, requiring more chemical treatment to maintain purity, hale said.
At the southern end of the city’s backbone along Centennial Avenue, more than 20,000 feet of new water line, mains and valves are being installed in the side streets to the east. The $6 million project — with work this week on Granite and Blynman Streets — is “by far the largest water project in my history (as public works director)” with a cost greater by a half than the heralded replacement of the entire water system in Magnolia a decade ago, Hale said. The Magnolia water modernization cost less than $5 million.
The work along Centennial, which extends work done along Stacy Boulevard and Western Avenue, is also exceptionally “complicated” on the streets of the hill due to “cross streets and sewer pipes at four way intersections,” said Hale.
Before the replacement pipes were installed along the Boulevard, the first heavy frost of each winter would be denoted by a break in the century old cast iron pipes. Some considered the water main breaks of December and January to be the true signal of seasonal change.
Pipe replacement work is also underway in Magnolia and at the West Gloucester water treatment plant, which has undergone extensive modernization work is underway to replace the sedimentation collection system.