Delays continue to hamper water line project in city

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Unforeseen problems related to a century-old water line currently undergoing renovation in Greencastle have forced officials to delay the project yet again.

Midwest Trenchless Services representative Joel Kruszynski appeared before the Board of Works Wednesday to ask for an extension of the contract for the project to Sept. 30.

However, he advised board members Sue Murray, Thom Morris and Mayor Nancy Michael that he might have to come back again to extend the contract to Oct. 15 if the problems that have plagued the project since June continue.

The Michigan-based company was contracted by the city to rehab an underground water line that extends from the water plant (next to the Putnam County Fairgrounds) to the courthouse square.

Kruszynski told the board that the project would have been done before now had it not been for the fact that the cast iron pipe, which was installed in the late 1800s, bends and meanders all the way along North Jackson Street between the water plant and the north side of town.

As an example, Kruszynski said that in the area of the viaduct, or railroad bridge, at the north end of town, the pipe jumps from a depth of 3 feet to 6 feet, back to 3 feet and then down to 10 feet - all in the distance of about 200 feet. In another location, the pipe curves off from Jackson Street by several feet and then curves back for no apparent reason.

In one area, there are so many rocks underground that it's difficult working in those areas -- save blasting the rock with dynamite.

All this deviation has meant major problems because the workers are trying to insert a rigid PVC pipe inside the existing pipe, Kruszynski explained. He told the board that the company has probably lost $20,000 worth of new piping that was damaged in the installation process.

Currently the project is under way near Depot Street and crews are working well into the night to try and finish before making what they hope will be a straight run up Jackson Street from the Monon restaurant.

Mayor Nancy Michael urged the public to remain patient with the project and to be cautious when driving through the area.

A Midwest Trenchless official reminded the board that the speed limit has been posted at 35 mph in the work zone and that not all drivers have been observing it. He said he is worried for the safety of his workers and asked that the city police step up their patrols in the area until the project is completed.

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