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Walnut St. repair ends soon

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Local drivers should be able to stop dodging trucks and orange barrels soon, as the roadwork on Walnut and Elm Streets is expected to be completed by the end of this week, according to Village Assistant Planner Ed Amrhein.

The two-week project is a warranty job by Demmy Construction of Springfield, which a year ago completed a project to install new waterlines on Walnut and Elm. However, soon after the project’s completion, it became evident that things weren’t right. The backfill material used to fill the street above the waterline was faulty, according to Amrhein, and began settling, causing an uneven road surface in spots. Because the Village had a one-year warranty on the work, Demmy is doing repairs for free.

“The current work is not costing the Village anything,” he said. “Once the repairs are completed, a new year-long warranty begins.”

The repair project is taking place on Elm Street between Winter and Walnut Streets, and on Walnut between Dayton and Limestone Streets. On Tuesday, the intersection of Short Street and Xenia Avenue was also blocked and under repair due to the same problem with the settlement of faulty backfill material, Amrhein said, although Short Street itself had no problems.

The Demmy firm is removing the substandard backfill, or gravel, and filling the area with a different gravel, according to Amrhein, who said the material that was installed last year around the water pipes was fine and caused no problems. Only the upper layer of backfill material turned out to be faulty.

The original waterline work a year ago cost the Village about $385,000, which was funded almost equally by the Village water and street funds. The repairs were necessary because the previous pipes were old and inadequate, Amrhein said, and the project involved installing new pipes that have doubled both the volume and flow of water downtown, making much more water available for fighting fires downtown and at Mills Lawn.

The Village plans no more major road projects until next summer, according to Amrhein, who said at that point the Village will continue with its repaving project that began in the summer of 2007. Gradually, the repaving of village roads is being completed, partially funded by the 8.4 mill property tax passed by voters in November 2006. Next, he hopes to focus on “biting off smaller chunks but doing more significant work” in areas in town where repeated overlays on roads have rendered curbs and gutters less effective.

“I’d like us to do some real engineering on the streets, and make improvements on the entire infrastructure,” he said.

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