60-inch storm culvert replacement underway in Bellaire

T-L Photos/SHELLEY HANSON REMNANTS OF the old stormwater drain is seen in West Bellaire.

BELLAIRE — A massive job to replace 380 feet of a storm drain that is 60 inches in diameter is underway in West Bellaire.

Bellaire city workers did a portion of the work last winter after some residents’ homes were flooded due to the collapsed pipe. It was discovered that much of the drain was deteriorating and needed replaced.

“It was an old storm sewer. It was put in back in the 1950s or early 60s. It was galvanized steel in a hodge podge of sizes,” said Village Administrator Scott Porter. “I think they used whatever was available at the time. It had rotted out and water was no longer going through the pipes — the pipes had collapsed.”

The area impacted is between Park and Washington streets.

Porter said the village received a $402,000 cost estimate for the project from an engineer. However, the village has been able to save about $200,000 by doing some of the work itself and because a large portion of the project is being done for free by ICR of Bellaire.

The village only had to furnish the needed material to do the job, Porter said. As a thank you of sorts, the village decided to transfer ownership of a piece of property — via the Belmont County Port Authority — in the industrial park area of the village to ICR, as the company is expanding its business there.

“They are a large rental company, operating out of the older Kroger. They are building a new complex in the industrial park. They are one of our larger employers,” Porter said.

“We’re hoping it will be wrapped up next week,” Porter said, noting the area will be repaved this fall if the asphalt plants still are operating. If not, the area will be covered with stone to make it passable.

Detour signs in the area have been directing motorists around the work area. ICR’s portion of the project began about three weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Porter said a project by Columbia Gas to replace 1,500 feet of 4-inch natural gas main on Noble Street is nearly complete and expected to be done sometime next week. The work is being conducted by subcontractor Northern Pipeline Construction on behalf of Columbia Gas, which owns the line.

Columbia Gas decided to replace that section of gas main after having to make several repairs on it. Work to replace and reconnect 54 of the 1-inch service lines to homes on the street also has been conducted. They also moved 22 gas meters from the interiors of homes to the outside.

The Bellaire project is one of 100 being conducted across the state of Ohio. Last year, a gas main was replaced in the city of Martins Ferry in the Virginia Street area. After the subcontractor was finished, the sections of pavement dug up for the work were repaved, and sidewalks dug up for service line work also were restored. Upgrading such main lines is expected to give residents and businesses some additional pressure.

Also, village workers have been unclogging catch basins with the recent rainstorms, and work to repair broken waterlines continue, Porter added.

“We’re trying to catch up,” he said.