Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Downtown sinkholes: The final moments

The folks along Mulberry, Franklin, Center, and Howard Street and at Park Avenue can finally take a deep breath. Sh** no longer flows in the surface sewer pipes that marred their streets in some cases since early July of last year and the pipes will soon be dismantled. A deep breath is possible again.
Surface sewage pipes with "aroma filter"
(Photo Philipsen)


The entire sewer main from Martin Luther King Boulevard  to Madison Avenue with its various twists and turns is now completely lined with 2" resin, essentially a new pipe in the old shell that the responsible engineers proclaim "will last another 100 years" and that was applied at strategic points without digging the old pipes up. This technique is now the state of the art method of fixing old pipes in the lest invasive manner.

Gone are the booster pumps and their ruckus at Mulberry Streets across from the new Enterprise apartments, gone the gaping holes at Mulberry and Paca Street and except for the more recent one at Washington Square and Park.

But the roadways are still closed and motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, businesses and residents are still suffering. This week maybe more than ever because Mulberry Street was additionally closed at Howard Street for an additional resin injection point. While the sewer lining work is now completed the roadway repair is still underway.

Some of the surface pipes are already
Mulberry closure at Howard Street
(Photo Philipsen)

being removed dripping their smelly contents for all to see. The remaining bypass lines are currently flushed with chlorine rich water so they are clean for their next engagement.

new pavement nearly complete at Mulberry and Greene Street
(Photo Philipsen)

At Mulberry Street and Greene the new concrete pavement  is almost complete. The engineers expect traffic to flow along its customary arteries again in the first half of March. Once the most recent hole at Mount Vernon Place will also being filled again, the Maryland Avenue, Cathedral- and Liberty Streets bike boulevard can finally be used without balancing a bike across those wooden pipe bridges.

The hole opened just a couple of days after that long in the making bikeway had finally been finished last fall. But so far it is still open apparently waiting for some custom steel cap to arrive

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA