Courier Staff Writer
A few snags along the way have prolonged the construction on North Court Street.
Ottumwa Water Works and Hydro general manager Mike Heffernan said they are installing a new 16-inch water line under the two blocks from Maple Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue.
“That was to alleviate problems we had with an old 12-inch and old 6-inch water main breaking at least once each year for the last three years,” Heffernan said. “We decided to put a new 16-inch line in to hopefully avoid future water main breaks.”
Heffernan said the project began around the first of November.
“But shortly after it got started, the contractor realized he wouldn’t be able to put the pipe underneath the west sidewalk like we wanted because of some unlocated and unmarked telephone cables there,” he said. “We’re going to bore in the pipe to do less destruction to traffic, the and the sidewalk.”
Crews couldn’t place the pipe on the opposite side of the street due to a natural gas line and a marked telephone cable.
“So we decided to put it under the middle of the street,” Heffernan said. “We don’t like doing that, but it was the only place we could put it in.”
Now it’s a matter of finishing the water main installation and repairing the street.
“We’ll do temporary patching [Friday] at the intersection of Maple and Court ... then hopefully we’ll get the street opened after the first of the year,” he said.
Heffernan also said the contractor Water Works normally uses, McClure Concrete Contracting, was busy working on the city’s sidewalk drop program.
“So we were scrambling around trying to find a contractor to help repair the street patches after the water line is put in,” he said. “Then we got Christy Construction to help us fill the void, and they were doing what they could to get done as much as they could.”
This spring or summer, Heffernan said crews will have to go back in and do permanent repairs on the block between Maple Avenue and Albany Street, so the street will be closed again and detours will be set up.
Public Works Director Larry Seals said the city shuts down all of its construction projects through the winter months.
“With this weather, we shut down all concrete and only do temporary patches now,” Seals said. “We try to time ours so that everything in the winter is shut down.”