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Elkins closing downtown street for three days

ELKINS — One of the main roads through downtown will be closed today through Friday, Elkins officials said.

S. Davis Avenue, between First and 11th Streets, will be closing at 7 a.m. today and will remain closed through Friday. Local traffic only will be permitted southbound to 10th Street.

“It is related to the sewer/stormwater separation project,” a city official told The Inter-Mountain Monday afternoon.

As part of Phase II of the sewer/stormwater project, crews will eventually excavate sections of 15 city streets and alleys in the neighborhood west of Wimer Field to install new, dedicated stormwater lines and related infrastructure components, including manholes and catch basins, according to information from city officials.

The first street to be excavated was Railroad Avenue, beginning where it dead ends against the south bank of the Tygart Valley River, near Kelly Foundry. Bear Contracting began work there early in February.

“Phase II of the sewer separation project … got off to a little bit of a rocky start,” Elkins Operations Manager Bob Pingley said. “It’s a very deep trench, with very poor soil in South Elkins.

“We had some problems with close proximity to water lines. But I think we’ve worked through these problems, and now that the weather’s improving that’s going to help us too,” he said.

The sewer/stormwater separation project is the second phase of sewer-system improvements Elkins is required to implement under a 2011 consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The goal of this project is to reduce the number of combined sewer/stormwater pipes in Elkins, so that sudden downpours are less likely to overwhelm the sewer system’s capacity and cause overflows of untreated sewage to the Tygart Valley River.

The sewer/stormwater project, which is funded by a $4.9 million bond issue, will not result in any additional increase in sewer rates, officials said.

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