Worst of Springfield sewers, roads being repaired

Source - State Journal Register

Spring’s arrival means Springfield residents can expect roads to be torn up or closed off for various reasons.

Crews have been doing subterranean work along Monroe Street recently, part of an improvement plan for the aging sewer system.

The Franklin Park area, Reynolds, Carpenter, Jefferson, Sixth and Ninth streets have already seen the sewer-lining work, for a combined cost of just under $3 million.

Installation of the lining is to ensure the continued structural integrity of the pipes, particularly in areas where they are in the worst shape, are starting to deform and collapse, city sewer engineer John Higginbotham said.

“As far as the central business district, those are the lines in the worst shape that need the rehabilitation effort,” Higginbotham said.

The sewer lining hasn’t been done in a while; Higginbotham estimated the last major project was more than a decade ago. In the Carpenter Street area, there were “quite a few actual collapses,” he added.

The hope is that when the pipes are lined, it will prevent collapses and reinforce them for the next 50 to 100 years, Higginbotham said.

The sewer system under downtown is the oldest in Springfield, with pipes a century old or more. Work on the study that identified the problem areas, which was completed in 2006, began in 2002, Higginbotham said.

In the Franklin Park area, additional efforts were aimed at increasing the water-tightness of pipes to seal them from groundwater infiltration, Higginbotham said.

Insituform, of St. Louis, has been doing the underground work in Springfield. This year’s sewer lining is nearly finished, and another lining project is planned for either later this year or next spring. That work will likely range in cost from $4 million to $5 million, Higginbotham said.

The Cook Street area is being eyed for those upgrades, according to Springfield Public Works Director Mark Mahoney.

As for what’s above the ground, this year marks the third and final year of an infrastructure ramp-up that will see about $30 million worth of work done on streets, sidewalks and traffic signals.

The work is being funded in large part with bonds, which the city will repay over the next 15 years with revenue from a half-cent sales tax increase that went into effect in 2014.

The largest portion of this year’s work is road overlay, which makes up $17.5 million of what’s slated to be done in 2016. Smaller dollar amounts are allocated to other projects, including $2 million for brick street repairs and the same amount for concrete patching.

A separate batch of infrastructure projects are underway, too, including the Carpenter Street underpass, which is part of the city’s rail-relocation project and is slated to be completed this year, as well as Archer Elevator Road, Stanford Avenue and the 11th Street extension.