Railroad Street hole gets bigger

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 21, 2004

A large hole in the road on Railroad Street between Fifth and Sixth streets has grown to a massive crater nearly large enough to swallow a tractor-trailer.

A section of the street, approximately 16-feet by 12-feet, caved-in last month after a 33-inch brick sewer line collapsed and undermined the ground. To fix the problem, the hole has been excavated to a approximately a 20-foot by 30-foot hole to allow city sanitation workers to safely have access while they rebuild the sewer.

Steel pilings are being put in to meet safety requirements and allow a 30-foot section of the sewer line to be replaced with concrete without the hole collapsing, said John McCabe, public services coordinator for the city.

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"It is all sand," he said of the 22-foot deep hole. "The more you dig out the more it falls in"

Akers Contracting & Excavating of Ironton is removing the dirt. Southern Ohio Salvage has been installing the pilings.

To keep the sewer from backing up in that neighborhood, the city is using a pump and collapsible hose that runs approximately 300 feet along the sidewalk to transfer the sewer and water from the manhole at Sixth and Railroad back into the sewer at Fifth and Railroad.

The pump will have to run 24-hours a day until the sewer is repaired, McCabe

If everything goes well, most of the sewer work will be completed by Friday but the pilings will stay in until next month so the concrete can cure, McCabe said.

Overall, McCabe said the project is not as expensive as it could have been.

Even with hiring the two sub-contractors the city has only spent about $8,000. If a contractor was hired for the entire project, it would have cost nearly $50,000, McCabe said.

"With us doing most of the work with our own people, we are saving a lot of money," he said.

Mike Pemberton, Ironton's street/flood/sanitation superintendent, said that the city will not be able to blacktop the street until later this spring when the asphalt plants open, probably in April.