Major Waterline Upgrades Planned

By: Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Brooks Jarosz Email

ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Bumps in the road and bursts in the water lines have the city of St. Albans planning some major upgrades.

Mayor Dick Callaway tells this is a multimillion dollar project that's been in the works for several years.

If City Council approves refinancing water utility bonds, the city could have an additional $2 million to add to the roughly $10 million invested in a three-phase waterline overhaul project.

"Most of the waterlines in this town are over 80 years of age, and of course we spend a great deal of our time just repairing lines," Callaway said. "But now that we've been able to put new lines in, of course we'll be in good shape for years to come, and that will take care of a lot of the maintenance problems."

It's a growing problem that sometimes you don't see. The aging pipe system is prone to bursts, sometimes several times a day somewhere in the city, according to the mayor.

"We will have crews out almost 24 hours a day, many times because they will break during business hours and after hours," Callaway said.

The first phase was to upgrade the waste water treatment plant. The second phase was to replace old critical lines like along Route 60.

Upgrades will begin Monday on Route 60 between the St. Albans-Nitro Bridge and B Street. Callaway warns of minor traffic delays in that area for several weeks.

Chris Kilbert is the pastor at Riverlawn Church along Pennsylvania Avenue and says he's seen a difference since some of the waterline upgrades.

"There is that need," Kilbert said. "We want everything to be safe and clean."

However, travel toward town and it will be a bumpy and uneven road as Pennsylvania Avenue slowly crumbles.

"You can see these holes here," neighbor Herk McGraw said. "Those are from water leaks."

McGraw added, "Everywhere you see a patch is where they've had to dig up the water line."

Neighbors like McGraw have tried to get something done for years. He says he's pleased it's finally likely going to happen.

Callaway says now's the time. Refinancing utility bonds to save money and ultimately pave the way for waterline upgrades.

Now there's a permanent solution spending time and money to replace lines and resurface roads like Pennsylvania Avenue.

That work is planned for this July. If you live in St. Albans, the mayor says you won't see any increase in your water or sewer bill.

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