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Durham gets ready to replace 12,000 feet of water mains in Ninth Street area

Durham is moving forward with a massive water and sewer replacement project in the Ninth Street area and surrounding neighborhoods.

Dubbed the “West Blvd. Corridor Utility Rehabilitation project,” the plans call for replacing 12,000 feet of water mains, as well as replacing hydrants, and replacing and repairing sewer lines. It’s the biggest project of this type in the Ninth Street area in memory, according to the city.

The project work would go from the Barnes Supply Co. store to West Club Boulevard, including Oval Park, and running down Carolina Avenue, Oakland Avenue, and Englewood Avenue going to Broad Street. The length of West Club Boulevard from Ninth Street to Hillandale Road is also included.

(The city’s plans are here. For more details on the work as well as properties to be impacted, click here.)

In addition to the 12,000 feet of water mains to be replaced, 11,000 feet of sewer lines and 5,000 feet of storm sewer pipe will also be replaced.

“These mains are well beyond their service life,” said Water Department spokeswoman Jennifer Smart. “Water main breaks are becoming more common in these mains and these mains have a high degree of tuberculation (mineral deposit buildup). This buildup of mineral deposits within the mains reduces their carrying capacity and reduces fire flow. While we are in the area, it’s also best practices to rehabilitate and replace sewer as needed, so that the area will not be disturbed twice should another need arise.”

At the May 4 meeting, the Durham City Council approved another $1.1 million to go toward the project’s final design and permitting. The initial phase of design began in 2019 and was funded $825,585, bringing the total currently to $1.9 million.

Construction is planned to begin in late 2020.

The city will also replace or repair pipes running from the city-owned sewer main to the edge of a homeowner’s property that connect to private plumbing.

But the water department, working with the Public Works Department, will not work on curb ramps or slopes as previously planned.

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