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Water project places limits on street paving

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — City leaders made a tough decision Monday, balancing upcoming repairs and replacement of waterlines with the need for street paving.

Safety and Service Director Jeremy Greenwood reviewed the problem with City Council.

“We’re going to be tearing up a lot of the areas of the city with this water project, and there’s no sense in paving a street then coming back through and then tearing it up. It doesn’t make sense financially. We’re supposed to be good stewards of the city and the money,” Greenwood said.

The city is in the process of switching from its surface reservoirs to purchasing water from Belmont County. The extensive plan also calls for upgrading waterlines throughout the city, which are older and in poor condition. Greenwood said he had originally imagined the upgrades to take place over a period of 10 years. The plans were accelerated in December when it was announced the city was receiving a grant for $5 million through the Ohio BUILDS water infrastructure grant program.

After lengthy discussion, ultimately, council decided to pave Edinburgh Way and Kilsyth Court, both in Ward 3.

“Those are one of the worst ones we have,” Greenwood said, adding they will also not likely need to be torn up for waterline repairs. “The waterlines in that neighborhood are fairly new. There shouldn’t be anything we need to tear the street up for.”

“We know we’re going to be destroying a street. Why invest money into it and tear it up and have to invest money in it again,” Greenwood said. “Let’s take that money and do it the right way and the smart way.”

In addition the contractor, Cast & Baker, could have pursued litigation if the city had not ordered paving in accordance with their contract.

A total of $200,000 had been earmarked for street paving. Due to cost increases and the extent of the proposed repairs, the cost is $236,000 and new legislation will have to be drawn up to transfer the additional amount to meet the cost.

Greenwood added that originally, the $200,000 was meant to cover work on 13 streets.

“But we weren’t doing full replacement,” Greenwood said. “Instead of just putting the skin-coat of asphalt on it where it would look good for a year or two…we’re going to put new base in, put some drainage in, pave it.”

Greenwood said the other streets would continue to be patched as best they could.

The decision came after lengthy discussion by council members Monday about what options were available. Council members noted some dissatisfaction was expected from residents who are aware of the need for street paving. Greenwood and council members ask them to consider the long-term benefits to the city brought by the water system upgrade.

“There’s going to be a lot of trenching in the streets. There’s going to be open trenches,” Greenwood said. “It’s something we’re going to have to get through and work around. We will be patching the streets as they’re coming through. There will probably be metal plates on them. It’s just a matter of coordination and trying to go through it.”

He added many factors must be taken into consideration, such as the need to work around the schools when school is not in session.

Greenwood said work could begin this fall. During the meeting, Greenwood pointed out extensive breaks in several waterlines.

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