Downtown Storm Sewer Work Ready To Rev Up (VIDEO)

By Emma Koch
By Jeff Neumeyer
July 29, 2013 Updated Jul 29, 2013 at 5:32 PM EDT
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Short-term pain for long-term gain.

A major downtown Fort Wayne storm sewer project is about to get launched, reducing sewage overflows into the St. Marys River.

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But the work will snarl traffic on many downtown streets for awhile.

Impatient motorists may want to take a deep breath before entering the downtown area once this all gets started.

A stretch of Fairfield Avenue will be closed down entirely from September through mid-November, as crews dig up several streets to install new sewer pipes.

A $2-million contract could be awarded this week to reduce sewage overflows.

New sewer pipes will be buried under Main Street, Pearl Street, Harrison and a handful of others.

The new lines will hook into a main trunk line that was laid down beneath Ewing Street a few years back.

Businesses in the area are bracing for traffic headaches and the potential for lost revenues while the work is underway.

The agency named Stop Child Abuse and Neglect, or “SCAN”, is very close to where the traffic tie-ups will be happening.

About 200 children and their families each week drop in to the agency for court-ordered services.

” This is a busy, hopping place right here at the corner of Fairfield and Main, but we will let families know via posting things, sending updates to them,” said Jennifer Boen with SCAN.

” There will be some issues with traffic, you know, anytime you have progress like this and try to improve things, there’s always some downsides temporarily, but it’s worth it, it’s going to be worth it in the long run,” said Frank Suarez, with Fort Wayne City Utilities.

Besides reducing sewage overflow into the river by nearly 7 million gallons a year, city officials insist there will be other benefits realized.

A several square block area will see increased sewer capacity, which should help with any growth taking place nearby.

The work will also make the Saint Marys River cleaner, which is especially important if any new development is to take place on the banks of the river.