BENNINGTON -- Water line work that sparked the ire of Northside Drive business owners last fall because of its timing is scheduled to begin next week.
Originally set for last August
The replacement of a water main between the McDonald's restaurant and the Northside Diner had been originally planned for the week of Aug. 1, 2013, and would have run through October -- the peak of the fall foliage season. Rosan Greene, owner of the Northside Diner, organized a meeting between business owners and town officials to air their concerns about construction disrupting their businesses during a time of year when the area is flush with tourists and the revenue they bring.
Bennington Water Superintendent Terry Morse said Monday the project was put off until the spring to alleviate the business owners' concerns.
He said this is the second to last piece of a six-phase project that has been going on for the past few years. The water main running through Northside Drive was installed in the late 1960s, is made of cast iron, and has rigid joints. The new one will flex much better when the ground moves during the winter months. Morse said there is a major break on the line annually, which can cost between $6,000 and $10,000 to fix. He said when the western leg of Route 279 was completed, there was a break that also damaged the road and cost $20,000 to fix.
The line is being put in between the sidewalk and road on the west side of Northside Drive. Right now the main runs near other utilities, which the state of Vermont discourages.
The entrances to the businesses and homes along the road will not have to close during the work, but some homeowners may be asked to move their cars briefly. There will be one interruption of water service, which Morse said will happen at night for a few hours. People will be given warning.
Morse said the plan is to keep two lanes of traffic open by using the road's center lane. Work should be completed by mid-June.
This phase of the work is budgeted at $325,000. The next phase, which will run from the end of this one to the area of the former LaFlamme's furniture store, is budgeted for $400,000. The entire project is for $1.3 million and comes from the town water budget.
The contractor is Manchester-based Herrmann Construction.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.