PWSA tackles road, sidewalk restorations throughout Pittsburgh
August 7, 2018
Lead service line replacements and a sharp increase in winter main breaks result in a busy restoration season for the Authority
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) is on track to restore more than 3,000 asphalt and concrete sites throughout the City of Pittsburgh’s 32 wards and Millvale, with 700 sites completed to-date.
The massive undertaking includes milling, repaving, and installing new sidewalks where PWSA performed work over the past year. Due to destructive winter weather and an aggressive lead line replacement program, the 2018 restoration program is three times larger than last year.
PWSA requested from its Board of Directors an additional $5 million be added to the contract, making the restoration budget approximately $11 million this year.
This past winter saw the coldest temperatures in Pittsburgh since 1977, which caused a drastic increase in water main, service line, and valve breaks. In the first three weeks of January alone, crews repaired more than 100 water main breaks. PWSA crews and contractors were moving around the city, day and night, opening the street to make necessary repairs to our underground infrastructure as quickly as possible. Sites cannot be restored permanently during cold weather, so PWSA applies temporary patches until it can return for permanent restoration during the warmer construction season.
A cold winter isn’t the only contributing factor to an increased workload this paving season. PWSA’s lead service line replacement program, an aggressive engineering and construction program to remove lead service lines throughout the City of Pittsburgh and Millvale, has resulted in hundreds of street openings.
Since December 2017, there have been more than 750 lead line replacements. Crews are on track to replace approximately 200 every month going forward. As crews complete a cluster of service lines within a neighborhood, the entire batch of addresses are passed on to the restoration team.
“The number of restoration sites this year is a product of the progress we’ve made replacing lead lines and performing emergency repairs over the winter,” said PWSA Executive Director Robert A. Weimar.
To restore sites as quickly as possible, PWSA moves two milling, two paving, and two concrete crews through each of the city’s 32 wards and Millvale in an organized fashion. Milling and paving crews will normally move through an area first, followed by concrete crews. They move as quickly as possible, although some areas take longer depending on the number of paving sites in the ward.
To complete the maximum number of sites, the crews cluster their work rather than moving from one individual site to another. This approach ultimately maximizes crew time and helps ratepayer dollars stretch farther. Sites that present a hazardous condition will be prioritized for more immediate repairs.
During paving season:
PWSA contractors will post no-parking signs 24-48 hours in advance of work. Residents are asked to obey no parking signs to ensure work is performed without delay.
It is not unusual to see no-parking posted for more than one day. Crews may require two days to complete work on a street to accommodate for inclement weather or cars obstructing work in the no-parking zone.
Asphalt crews and concrete crews work independently of each other. It is not uncommon to see street paving completed on your block, but not sidewalks.
PWSA attempts to coordinate with other utilities’ work to save costs and reduce disruption. Sites may be delayed for paving if it is made known that another utility must do work within that space.
Customers can check to see if their area is on the weekly paving list by visiting http://www.pgh2o.com.