Tonawanda News


August 29, 2013

Payne Avenue shutdown to end Friday

Tonawanda News — An aged sanitary line in the center of North Tonawanda’s commercial district along Payne Avenue has shut down part of the street for several days, with plans to lift a detour between 15th and 18th avenues by Friday. 

Brad Rowles, supervisor of the Department of Public Works, said an routine check late last week led to the discovery that a line was clogged near 16th and Payne avenues. The city called in an outside contractor who used a camera to investigate the cause of the problem, when it was discovered that part of the line had disintegrated. 

Rowles said the clay pipe was installed roughly 70 years ago during a time when the city’s housing stock in that section of the city was still limited. The fact that that the problem arose in what is now a busy section of the city and at a depth of 20 feet made the process arduous. 

“It was oozing mud into the sewer,” he said. “And it turned out to be a major excavation.”

In response to a rash of flooding issues this summer, city officials have added urgency to conversations regarding what to do about its aging infrastructure, which would likely cost hundreds of millions of dollars to remedy. 

As budget talks ensue behind closed doors this week, officials have indicated that a piecemeal plan would be put in place in the fall that would focus on adding new storm water and sanitary lines based on levels of importance. 

Mayor Rob Ortt has also indicated he would move to add gas-powered generators to many of the city’s water pump stations, which could help alleviate some flooding issues should a storm knock out power in North Tonawanda, as happened in June and July. 

In the meantime, Rowles said, his department has used a combination of city employees and private contractors to work on the Payne Avenue sanitary line. 

“The street will be open on Friday,” he said. 

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115. 

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