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Elkins sewer project forges ahead

The Inter-Mountain photo by Edgar Kelley Heavy equipment rests on 13th Street in Elkins, waiting for work to resume on Phase II of Elkins’ sewer separation project. Work is expected to continue through mid-October.

ELKINS — Phase II of Elkins’ sewer separation project continues to forge ahead and area residents should see some road improvements within the next couple of weeks, officials said.

“The project is going pretty well,” said City of Elkins Operation Manager Bob Pingley. “They’ve made it all the way down to 14th Street and another crew has started work at the river on 15th Street.

“Once we got away from the major intersections like 11th Street and South Railroad Avenue, there’s not quite as many utilities, so things are going much smoother. And we’re getting into some better soils down that way also, which really helps.”

As expected, residents have had to deal with rough road conditions on the streets that have been worked on, especially at and around the intersection of 11th Street and South Davis Avenue.

But that area is expected to see vast improvements in the next several weeks. Next week crews will start milling at the 13th Street intersection next to T-Mart and work their way back down South Davis Avenue to 10th Street.

“The plan is that they will be coming in next week and start milling those streets,” Pingley said. “Every street that they’ve dug in gets full-width milling and overlay. It’s just not a trench repair, it’s full-width milling and asphalt overlay. They’re going to get those roads milled out and hopefully bring the paving crew right in behind them.”

The 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 project, which is funded by a $4.9 million bond issue, will not result in any additional increase in sewer rates, officials said. Work is expected to be complete sometime around mid-October.

“It’s an inconvenience and I understand that, but that’s the price of progress,” Pingley said. “We have to do this and it’s going to be a real improvement to the system. We just gotta get through it.”

The City of Elkins also began work on the City Hall parking lot project this week. It is projected to take close to 90 days to complete the project and the goal is to provide both city employees and the public with a much better parking area.

“Parking in that area isn’t going to be too much of an issue during the project, because the Railyard was kind enough to let us use their gravel lot to help with the overflow,” Pingley said.

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