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Engineer to discuss this summer's downtown waterline replacement project

April 24, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Philip Ciesielski, utilities engineer for the city of Lawrence, will answer questions about the city's latest waterline replacement replacement project in downtown Lawrence. He also can address other questions regarding the city's water and sewer systems.

Moderator:

Good afternoon. This is Dennis Anderson, managing editor of the Lawrence Journal-World. Our guest today is Philip Ciesielski, utilities engineer for the city of Lawrence Utility Department. Welcome.

Philip Ciesielski:

Dennis thank you for the invitation to chat about the 2007 Downtown Waterline project.

Moderator:

Can you please give us a brief overview of this summer's downtown waterline replacement project? What is the scope of the work? When will it start? And how long should construction last?

Philip Ciesielski:

This is the third of what was scheduled as a 3 year project to replace existing watermains from approximately 6th & Tennessee to Massachusetts and North Park Street. This year we are working in the 900, 1000, & 1100 blocks of Massachusetts. The contractor, Nowak Construction, started work in the 1100 block yesterday and the project is expected to be completed by September 7, 2007.

Moderator:

Here are some questions from readers.

gontek:

Hello Phil,
What has been going on at the Utilities Department in the last 6 months or so?

I know a lot is happening, and I can't quite keep up anymore with all the new positions and openings.

Now that you have construction season coming up, and several large projects lined up, how are you going to do it all?

Philip Ciesielski:

You are right that the last 6 months or more have seen a lot of changes in the department. We have some new faces and a number projects underway with several more being initiated soon. As usual working with a talented staff, consultants and contractors will play a large part in delivering quality projects for the community.

kuhusker:

Besides downtown, are there any other areas of the city where the lines are getting very old and will need to be replaced soon. especially neighborhood areas?

Philip Ciesielski:

Good question. I can't speak to specific neighborhoods but Lawrence has several older areas in the community. The department has a yearly program of addressing older infrastructure for both the water and sanitary sewer system. For the water system the last few years the focus has been on the circa 1880 waterlines on Massachusetts. The department is continually evaluating the age, servicability and reliability of its infrastructure and targeting the available funds to areas based on these evaluations.

Moderator:

Back to the downtown waterline project. There were concerns in the first two years of the project that construction would disrupt the summer sidewalk sale and graduation weekends. Have any plans been made this year to address those concerns?

Philip Ciesielski:

Dennis, both of those dates were of concern to the project team as we put the schedule together and with the input of the downtown merchants we have set a schedule that accommodates these. The current phase of the work in the 1100 block is scheduled to be completed by May 18 th Friday prior to graduation. The contract will cleanup and remove equipment from the area to open Massachusetts for the graduation weekend. The second phase of the project on the east side of the 900 - 1000 blocks will then begin the Monday after graduation on May 21. As for the sidewalk sale the contractor will cleanup the area and move the pedestrian fences out into the parking area to free up the sidewalk the evening before. The date of the sidewalk sale is set as a no work day for the project.

Moderator:

How can people keep up to date with the project's progress throughout the summer?

Philip Ciesielski:

We will be maintaining a web site which can be accessed from www.ci.lawrence.ks.us. We will post regular updates at the end of each week which will summarize the progress of that week and forecast the activities for the upcoming week including any changes to traffic impacts. We will also post photos of the construction progress.

Moderator:

How will the project affect parking?

Philip Ciesielski:

There will be areas of parking along Massachusetts during each phase of the project that will be unaccessible. To provide an option for those who might not be able to locate a parking space the city has made the top floor of the parking garage at south of 9th and New Hampshire free for the duration of the construction project.

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