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Weather impedes drainage work

Date: 9/5/2013

By Chris Maza

LONGMEADOW – Despite having faced some delays, the drainage project for Merriweather Drive, Woodside Road and Williams Street continues to progress.

Department of Public Works Director Mike Wrabel said, “We were hoping to be up to Williams Street by mid-September,” he said. “Overall, we’ve slipped back a couple of weeks.”

The drainage project, which includes the installation of 3,400 feet of drainage pipes, plus an additional 800 feet in water piping, paving and sidewalks, began in July.

Residents approved the project at the Annual Town Meeting, and GEG Construction of Indian Orchard was selected through a bidding process to do the work.

Wrabel explained that the placement of utilities and the weather played a role in the slowing of the progress of the contractor. Deep excavation in rainy conditions “can be very difficult,” he said.

“The contractor went through a tough spot,” he said. “Almost all of the drainage pipes were along or crossing gas lines and there was a lot of water in the trench. It was like trying to dig a hole on the shore. The deeper you dig, the more falls in.”

Wrabel said, however, that he still hoped to have all of the drainage pipe work completed by the middle to end of October.

The weather and utility difficulties are in the past, he said and only another week to 10 days of deep excavation work remains.

He also said that once the contractor makes his way to Williams Street, the size of the drainage pipe used would go form 48 inches in diameter to 30 inches in diameter. The smaller pipes, he explained, are easier to maneuver and install, which should make for faster progress.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to pick up some of the lost time,” Wrabel said.