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City of Wheeling Replacing Downtown Water Main Built in 1886

Orange barrels and heavy equipment return to downtown Wheeling next week, as crews begin replacing a 135-year-old water main Monday.

Wheeling city officials announced that the multimillion-dollar construction project to replace the water main — originally installed in 1886 — will start at the intersection of Main and 16th streets. For the majority of the time, traffic is expected to be maintained in one lane throughout the duration of the project. Officials noted that there will be periods when downtown traffic will need to be temporarily detoured around the construction zone.

The major water line replacement project is being performed ahead of the long-awaited Downtown Streetscape Project, for which the state of West Virginia is investing $25 million in new street surfacing, sidewalks, traffic signals and other upgrades to the city’s main downtown thoroughfares.

Earlier this year, Wheeling City Council entered into a $4,250,665 contract with Pro Contracting of Lost Creek for the water line replacement work. City council late last year issued bond anticipation notes to fund this project.

Officials have noted that the line is still functional, but said because of its age, and in light of the major investment that will soon be taking place on the surface, it would be best to replace it now to avoid having to dig up portions of the completed streetscape work in the future. The project will replace the distribution mains, as well as water service lines to each building in the project area.

Beginning at 16th and Main Street on Monday, the construction area will move along different portions of the line as the work proceeds. The work area will first run along 16th Street from Main to Eoff streets, then to Market Street from 16th to 10th streets. Finally, the work will conclude along Main Street from 9th to 16th streets.

While one lane of traffic is expected to be maintained throughout the duration of the project, occasional detours will reroute traffic to the next block, officials said. Any detours will be announced and will be marked accordingly.

Work on the water line replacement project is expected to continue for approximately one year, while work on the surface for the streetscape project is expected to proceed later this year along downtown arteries after the water line work is finished and out of the way.

Considered part of the streetscape project, sewer separation work is expected to begin once the water line replacement takes place in the area of 16th Street between Main and Market streets.

“Therefore, water line work will be done, and the city contractor will be working elsewhere in the project area, away from the streetscape contractor,” City Manager Bob Herron said Monday. “The streetscape project is being administered by the West Virginia Division of Highways, and the last update that I received is that it will be bid this spring and is still on schedule for construction to begin in the late spring or early summer.”

This project will be moving forward as other major construction work being performed by city contractors continues, as well. The Bedillion Lane sewer line improvement project in the Woodsdale and Edgwood neighborhoods is expected to impact traffic patterns in this area as work continues.

City leaders announced that Elm Street will continue to be closed to traffic between Carmel Road and Poplar Avenue. Poplar Avenue will continue to be closed to traffic between Elm Street and Vista Avenue. Work on Edgwood Street between Heiskell Avenue and Edglawn Avenue is scheduled to begin this week. This will close traffic on Edgwood Street within that block.


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