The city never intended to dig this big hole on R Ave, less than a year after it was repaved, but the contractor, while pulling a larger sewer line, ran into a manhole not on the city’s books, forcing this dig.
City Public Works Director Fred Buckenmeyer said the city tries not to dig up streets sooner than five years after paving, but they had no choice this week. He said the contractor discovered a manhole, consisting of a vertical concrete tube, was in the way of a new sewer pipe.
The contractor has been working in the northbound lanes of R Ave., between 30th and 31st streets when they discovered the manhole, which Buckenmeyer said was at least 50 years old and was “apparently forgotten” when it went out of service.
Buckenmeyer explained that the contractor was pulling a 12-inch PVC sewer pipe through older8-inch concrete pipe when they hit the manhole. The process, he said, is called “pipe bursting,” and is routinely used by the city when replacing pipes. It eliminates the need to cut and fill a trench for the new pipe.
The problem manhole had already been removed by the time I got to the site for this photo at the top. The manhole in the photo is next to the street and is an active one. "We knew about that one," quipped Buckenmeyer.
The larger sewer pipe will run between 30th and 31st streets from the alley entrance at the east side of Commercial Ave. in the alley, under Q Ave., then through the utility easement under Ebb Tide Apartments, and then under R Ave.
Buckenmeyer said the project may be completed by the end of this week, only a couple of days behind schedule.