Traffic disruptions will be a way of life for residents in the Beach Road, Ridge Road and Gibson Road neighborhoods for the next couple months as the Bristol County Water Authority continues a water main cleaning project.
The water authority is rehabilitating the water pipes along Beach Road, Gibson Road and Ridge Road, cleaning them of calcium depicts and cement lining to interior of the cast iron pipes. That means traffic disruptions, which began last week and will continue through the spring until the project’s completion. The BCWA has said the project will be finished before the Fourth of July celebration. Work is being performed Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The mains in Gibson and Ridge roads will be cleaned and lined first, requiring bypass pipes to be installed so water service won’t be disrupted when the mains are shut off for cleaning. Beach Road bypass pipes are being installed at the same time.
The $900,000 project will see the nearly century-old pipes cleaned rather than replaced, allowing the work to be completed using several “access pits,” rather than digging trenches along the entire length of the streets.
Most older water mains are made of unlined cast iron. Over the years, the pipes get mineral deposits that can decrease water volume in the pipe and discolor water for customers. It should be noted the water is perfectly safe to drink, the BCWA has said.
“We knew from customer complaints and flow testing that the pipes had considerable build up (rust) on the insides,” the BCWA said in a release. “First, crews scrape off the mineral buildup in these mains. Then, a cement lining was installed on the inside of the pipes to prevent the cast iron water main from future mineral build up. The work should effectively double the life of the water mains and keep the water that goes through them clear.”
Residents in the neighborhoods will be affected throughout the spring. Police officers and flaggers will be on site to direct traffic and minimize disruptions. Full road closures are not expected during the work.
“Clear, clean, high-quality drinking water and adequate fire protection is our ultimate objective in all this activity,” the BCWA release reads. “We realize that there are going to be some inconveniences during the project such as noise, dust, water shutdowns, traffic detours and temporary pavement. We will strive to minimize the inconveniences and annoyances to our customers.”