Workers with Distel Construction were busy Monday repairing a collapsed sewer on Third Street between Market Street and Jefferson Street in Portsmouth. Workers were down in a huge hole that had been dug to try to find the extent of the collapse.
“We had that heavy rain the other night and there was a sinkhole and it was an old brick manhole that had collapsed,” Portsmouth City Manager Dererk K. Allen said. “We brought a contractor in, Distel Construction, and his guys climbed down into the sewer, a 48-inch brick sewer, and there was a collapsed portion that had a void large enough you could stand up in it.”
Allen said the crew went to the next manhole and it too had washed out.
“We’re doing 200 feet of sewer replacement and two new manholes,” Allen said.
Allen said on Monday he did not know what the cost would be, but because of the depth of the problem, it had to be treated as an emergency and taken care of right away. To make matters worse, it is just the latest in a series of problems that include broken water mains and other infrastructure issues.
In April, a major waterline break on Kinney’s Lane, between Waller Street and Offnere Street in Portsmouth caused that street to be shut down for several days. The problem occurred when the main feeder line that goes up to the reservoir suffered a major break.
“There’s no real rhyme or reason other than you’ve got temperature change. You’ve got pipe that’s been in since the early 20s,” City Waterworks Director Sam Sutherland said. “It’s a combination.”
Allen seems to be up to his waist in alligators with no time to drain the swamp.
“Things are collapsing and failing faster than I can get them fixed,” Allen said.
He does no know what affect the project will have on the current budget for streets.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.