‘Yikes!’ Repairs to snarl traffic
by RICK NORTON Associate Editor
Sep 01, 2014 | 1358 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
 Greg Clark
Greg Clark

Of the many long-term benefits that Cleveland Utilities’ SCOPE 10 sewer rehabilitation project is expected to bring to the community, one of its few dark sides is coming this week.

In two words, it’s called “traffic congestion.”

And it’s the one aspect of the newest phase of the Strategic Commitment to Protect the Environment that CU Wastewater Rehabilitation Manager Greg Clark hasn’t been eagerly anticipating.

Weather permitting, it’ll start Wednesday and CU is hoping its contractor will have the work finished by no later than midday Thursday.

In order to complete “point repairs” prior to conducting the actual sewer line replacement in that area, CU will be forced to close one lane of traffic on the busy Georgetown Road N.W. intersection at Peerless Road.

For motorists who travel the area frequently, such news qualifies as a distinct “Yikes!”

“Yikes!” is putting it mildly, and Clark even goes as far as to suggest that drivers who take the Georgetown Road curve daily should consider another route Wednesday — and at least until later in the day Thursday.

“One lane of the road will be closed between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and for part of Thursday,” Clark said. “There will be signage and flagpersons on site, but traffic delays can be expected while the work is being performed.”

The veteran utility man added, “Cleveland Utilities appreciates everyone’s cooperation and understanding while the work is being performed.”

The newest phase of SCOPE 10 was launched in mid-August. It’s part of a 10-year project whose costs could exceed $30 million by the time it is completed. And even then, the initiative could evolve into a routine maintenance program that keeps Cleveland’s sanitary sewer system upgraded and prepared for continued growth.

This week’s repair work at Georgetown and Peerless is realigning a section of sewer line that earlier tests have shown to be sunken, or sagging. In order for a new interior lining to be placed inside the existing pipe, the section that has dropped must be raised to the level of the surrounding sewer line.

“Hopefully, they’ll be done in less than two days,” Clark told the Cleveland Daily Banner. “But we’re allotting two days as a worst-case scenario.”

This type of one-lane traffic is difficult on many city streets, but doing it on Georgetown Road borders on nightmarish, the CU engineer agreed.

Yet, it must be done in order to clear the way for continued progress with SCOPE 10 repairs, Clark noted.

To repair broken or damaged sewer lines during the massive rehab project, CU is using a high-tech method called CIPP (cured-in-place pipe). It is a process in which an interior lining is inserted into existing sewer lines from manhole to manhole. This resin-based lining is then “cured” into place by steam or hot water.

The process, which essentially creates a new pipe within the old pipe, is just as effective in restoring sewer lines to maximum flow, and greatly reduces the cost. Traditional open-cut excavation is much more expensive, labor intensive and more disruptive to property and business owners, and also creates greater traffic disruption for longer periods on area roadways, Clark explained.

The “point repair” work Wednesday and Thursday is setting the stage for the CIPP installation of sewer lines in the area.

Last month when announcing the launch of the newest SCOPE 10 phase, Clark warned traffic tie-ups could become common on city streets as crews hasten to complete their task over the next 15 months.

“We appreciate everybody’s cooperation and for working with us,” he told the Banner on Aug. 11. “There will be some traffic disruption concerns [especially on Georgetown Road].”

Those concerns this week will become reality.

“Certainly, if anyone has problems or questions, we want them to call us and we’ll try to rectify those problems,” he said.

Throughout the new phase of SCOPE 10, Clark urges anyone with questions to contact him at his direct CU extension at 478-9377; or, they may contact Ramon Hanson, project supervisor of American Infrastructure Technologies Corp. (CU’s contractor) at 205-470-0668.

SCOPE 10 is working to reduce the amount of inflow and infiltration into CU’s aging sewer system. I/I refers to extraneous (unwanted) groundwater that seeps into cracks, breaks or other defects of existing sewer lines. I/I contributes to manhole overflows that, if left unchecked, can pose violations of CU’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The bottom line: On Wednesday and Thursday, motorists should avoid the Peerless Road intersection with Georgetown Road if at all possible.

If not, to quote from a familiar road construction theme, “Expect delays.”

And sometimes, long delays.