NORWALK, Conn. While you were sleeping, construction workers were toiling under intense artificial lights to install a 6-foot pipe under East Avenue while it would cause the least traffic disruption.
The more than $2 million Lockwood Buckingham drainage project has been confined to the Smith Street area, forcing the closure of Moody's Lane. With the major work done over there, Department of Public Works Engineer Paul Sotnik and the crew from FGB Construction are now in the more publicly visible lawn of Community Baptist Church on East Avenue.
The project is designed to eliminate flooding on Lockwood Lane and Buckingham Place. Sotnik said proof of the project's expected success lies in the conditions that cause the flooding, which has been known to reach into area homes.
The area did not flood during Hurricane Irene, but it did two weeks ago when a hard rain deposited more than an inch of water within an hour. It hadn't flooded in two years, but there was simply too much water all at once for the old 36-inch pipes to handle. New pipes will have an outside diameter of 6 feet.
Sotnik and the construction crew worked overnight from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning and from Wednesday night to Thursday morning, doing the work on East Avenue. They dug a 17-foot-deep trench, Sotnik said. The 6-foot pipe had to go under a 16-inch water line, a 15-inch sanitary sewer that dates to 1888, a 10-inch water line, two gas lines, an electric duct line and a 15-inch storm drain that goes north to south.
They made faster progress than expected, and after complaints about the overnight noise, finished the East Avenue crossing Friday in daylight. They worked at Buckingham Place in a hole 18 feet deep, installing a junction box for the huge pipe.
Two weeks ago, workers cut one of the two high-pressure lines that supply water to East Norwalk. "We had to be really careful with that one when it was out, and get it right back in," Sotnik said. "They worked 24 hours straight the night when they did this."
Sotnik was there for that, and he was on hand again this week, staying up with the workers in case an engineer's assistance was required. Working at night might make for less traffic disruption, but there are problems. "Three o'clock in the morning you can't go to the supply place to get parts," he said. "So you've got to try and predict everything ahead of time and predict for the worst."
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