WARWICK, RI — Sandy Lane opened again Wednesday afternoon after weeks of repairs on 154 ft. of sewer line that collapsed the day before Thanksgiving, but work to prevent 600 additional feet of pipe from failing will only last two days.
Wednesday, traffic was flowing freely on Sandy Lane at about 3:30 p.m. following weeks of excavating and laying new sewer pipe to replace the collapsed line.
“I would like to thank all of our residents for their patience during this process, and encourage people to stop by and patronize the local businesses along Sandy Lane. I’d also like to commend Department of Public Works Director Mat Solitro for expediting this work quickly and efficiently as possible given the magnitude of this project,” said Mayor Joseph J. Solomon.
At Wednesday night’s Warwick Sewer Authority meeting, Janine Burke-Wells, director of the WSA, said the repair work had cost the WSA $540,000, and that police details to direct traffic around and through the site had cost the WSA another $95,000.
During that work, however, crews discovered another 600 feet of sewer pipe under the road that needs repair. At Wednesday night’s meeting, Burke-Wells described the collapsing pipe has adopted a heart-shape instead of a cylinder. The V of the heart will eventually let dirt into the pipe, she said, creating a void and then a collapse of the pipe.
Replacing that section of pipe would take at least a month, Burke Wells told the Sewer Authority members Wednesday. But, she said, vendors had alerted her to another option, a procedure that would repair the damaged pipe and reinforce it, likely lasting another 50 years.
Solitro described it as a tube of cured-in-place piping resembling big, gray sock, that would be inserted into the existing pipe. Then, either water or steam is pumped into the piping to expand it, hardening it into a coating of the damaged pipe that’s now whole again.
“It’s going to be like a new pipe,” Burke-Wells said.
The repair will cost $109,000, and would only require Sandy Lane to be shut down for two days, compared to the month replacing the pipe would require.
Should a repair on the reinforced sewer pipe be required, it can be done as a spot repair, rather than requiring the entire section of pipe to be removed and replaced, said Sam Hemenway with Garafalo Engineering in Providence. He said the cured-in-place piping wouldn’t be as good as replacing the pipe, but it is a suitable approach.
“It’s a calculated risk, I’ll agree,” Burke-Wells said, but the alternative would be a more expensive, more time consuming repair.
The Warwick Sewer Authority has approved the cured-in-place solution, awarding the bid for $109,000 to Green Mountain. Additional costs including cleaning the pipe, bypass pumping during the repair and police details for the two days the project will take will bring the total cost to $150,000. The expenses will be charged to the WSA’s renewal and replacement account.
Once Mayor Solomon signs off on the repair, it will take about a week and a half to schedule the work, Burke-Wells said.
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