FORT WAYNE – Now that you finally figured out the maze of detours and road closures downtown, work is beginning on Clinton Street.
During the next several weeks, City Utilities will be working to extend the life of sewers in the downtown area using a process called cured-in-place pipe.
Invented in 1971 in England by Eric Wood, the method uses water pressure to unroll a felt liner into the pipe, the way you unroll a sock, only the felt liner is impregnated with resin.
Crews then fill the pipe with steam or hot water, which cures the resin into a hard, PVC-like coating – a new pipe within the pipe. A robotic device is then used to drill out holes where other pipes join, and the process is complete.
The linings will be installed in brick sewer pipes built in the 1860s on Clinton Street between Freimann Square and Jefferson Boulevard, which will require lane closures so crews can access the manholes in the street.
Next month, when the work is done on Clinton, the process will be performed on a brick sewer pipe on Calhoun Street.
Cured-in-place pipes are essentially new pipes, which are designed to last 50 years. During the process, sewer customers in the area may notice a plastic-type odor that officials say is not harmful.
Since 1998, City Utilities has lined 134 miles of combined or sanitary sewers using this process, at a cost of about $35 million.
If those sewers had been replaced by traditional excavation, the cost based on the lowest bid received in that time period would have been $221 million. Based on average excavation costs, the bill would have run to $512 million, according to city figures.