ELLSWORTH — Crews have begun preliminary work on a city project that will replace about a quarter-mile of antique water main lines along Water Street.
According to City Manager Michelle Beal, crews from the Sargent Co. have started running temporary water lines to homes and businesses along Water Street between Main Street and Washington Street. The temporary lines will ensure that those buildings have water during the project.
“We didn’t want to shut off anyone’s water for any length of time,” Beal said Wednesday.
The nearly $800,000 project will replace 2,660 feet of 1889 water main along the busy street. Several years ago, the city replaced a section of the water main between Foster and Washington streets, Beal said.
“That was an emergency situation to deal with a lot of leaks in that area,” she said. “This will replace the remaining 1889 water main.”
The second phase of the project will replace sidewalks through most of the water line project area. From the city parking lot on Water Street to Franklin Street, the city will continue the downtown theme of granite curbing with concrete walkways. Beyond Franklin Street, Beal said, the sidewalks will have concrete curbing and asphalt walkways.
Water Street is a high-traffic area and the project likely will cause some delays. Beal said, however, that the city is working to avoid major delays for motorists. From the busy intersection with Main Street to Pine Street, most of the digging will be done at night, she said. Beyond Pine Street, work will be done during the day, but crews will keep traffic moving during construction.
“We’re not going to shut down the road,” she said. “We’ll keep traffic moving through there at all times.”
Much of the $799,000 price tag for the project is being paid through funds saved from other projects, Beal said. The city borrowed money for other projects that cost less than anticipated, she said. The City Council approved using those funds along with funds from the local roads account to do the water main replacement, she said.
The city’s water superintendent Larry Wilson is overseeing the project and will be on-site throughout the construction work. Beal said anyone who has a question or a problem stemming from the work can contact him or call City Hall, 667-2563.
“We’re trying to keep the disruption to a minimum for people and for the businesses down there,” she said.
The project is expected to be completed by June 30 in order to have equipment out of the road before the busy July Fourth weekend, Beal said.