FORT WAYNE – A massive storm sewer project that will disrupt downtown traffic for nearly a year was approved by the Board of Public Works on Wednesday.
Board members voted unanimously to award a $1.98 million contract to low-bidder API Construction for the first phase of the project, which will build upon an earlier one that installed a massive new storm sewer trunk line down Ewing Street, from Brackenridge Street to the river.
This project – called the Ewing Street East-West Storm Sewer – will build branches on that trunk, carrying storm sewage down Berry, Main and Pearl streets to the trunk line beneath Ewing that will take it to the river.
The sewers downtown are combined sewers, which carry both sanitary sewage and stormwater from street drains. During heavy rains, stormwater overwhelms the system, washing millions of gallons of sanitary sewage into the rivers.
There are four outfalls in this project area, in a stretch of river the city would like to see developed. This project will install new dedicated storm sewer lines, so street drains that currently go into the combined system will instead go to the storm-only system where it can be carried to the river without pollution. When complete, it will take the rainwater from about 30 acres of hard surface, reducing the amount of sewage overflow into the rivers by almost 7 million gallons a year.
Of course, all that work means construction crews will rip up streets and install more than a mile of pipe – some of which are 30 inches in diameter – all over downtown. The work will close Fairfield Avenue between Wayne and Superior streets, making Ewing Street a temporary two-way street. Work will begin in September.
The contract also requires approval by the City Council, expected within two weeks.
Board members also approved the purchase of land at 501-511 W. Superior St. for $105,625 and 515 W. Superior St. for $54,375. The parcels are the final ones needed for the construction of the Ewing/Fairfield/Superior roundabout. That project will begin in the spring, when the storm sewer work on Fairfield ends, and finish in the fall of 2014.