By Marty Gordon
An ongoing project at the Intersection of Depot ad North Franklin streets is causing confusion, detours and concerns for local residents and motorists.
The project addresses inflow and infiltration issues associated with the sanitary sewer system in the area of the town by replacing an old sanitary sewer line.
Christiansburg’s Public Information Officer Melissa Demmitt said the overall intent of the project is to reduce system overflows that can occur in heavy rains.
She said the sanitary sewer system work within N. Franklin Street should be completed within the next couple of weeks, weather and contractor schedule dependent.
“The project does also involve similar pipe system improvements up to and ending at Hickok Street. The project is scheduled to be completed in late May, weather and contractor schedule dependent,” Demmitt said.
The project, which is being funded by the Town’s Water and Wastewater Enterprise Fund, will have an end result of improving the sanitary sewer system.
Any pavement removed will be repaired until resurfacing of North Franklin Street can be scheduled. A storm drain improvement project is scheduled for this same general area after the traffic control for the sanitary sewer project is removed.
The second storm drainage project will require new traffic control signage and detours to be set up.
All North Franklin Street through traffic will be detoured in the vicinity of the project since the storm drainage project will require the complete closure to through traffic. Traffic will be open to local businesses only within the work zone.
But there have been some events the town might not have expected.
Johanna Hicks, owner of property at 121 and 123 North Franklin Street, told council at its first regularly scheduled meeting earlier this month about noise, smell, and rodent disturbances to the tenants of her properties related to the Town’s sewer line construction.
Hicks reported that Building Official Jerry Heinline inspected the situation, at her request, and suggested the town could pay for exterminating services, since the rodent issue was the result of the construction project.
Demmitt said the town paid for an exterminator to address this issue and this concern within her building. “The potential exists that this replacement work may have caused this issue which resulted in the decision to assist the property owner,” she said.
Also, the town is scheduled to start another project that will cause some traffic disruption.
Crews will be upgrading water distribution lines on Ellett Road beginning May 6, with work lasting though the beginning of June.
During this operation, Ellett Road will be closed to through traffic between Norwood Drive and Thelma Lane. A detour will be set up in the area. Public Works staff will assist residents who live in the affected area in getting in and out of their driveways, and access to those homes will be maintained at all times during the duration of the project.
There will be short water interruptions at the residences in the work zone on Ellett Road, between Norwood Drive and Thelma Lane. Those residents will be notified by Public Works staff before any interruption to their water service, and additional information will be provided to them as this project progresses.