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Water Authority Begins Phase Two of College Avenue Project

by on June 24, 2014 6:00 AM

The State College Borough Water Authority has moved on to the second phase of its work to replace a century-old water main along College Avenue.

Authority executive director John Lichman says that the first phase is “99.99 percent complete,” having installed a new 12-inch diameter water line down College Avenue from Atherton Street east to Heister Street.

All that remains to complete this phase of the process is to test the second half of the line for pressure and bacteria to ensure its efficiency and to make sure it's safe. 

During the first phase, construction crews needed to close one lane of College Avenue. In an effort to keep traffic tie-ups to a minimum, the authority has been working on one block at a time.

Now that they've made one pass down the busy street, crews will now have to work their way down the length of College Avenue block by block a second time. They're now connecting the new water pipe to area homes and businesses.

Lichman says the most difficult part of this process has been encountering unforeseen underground obstacles. Because of the age of the pipe being replaced, nobody knew the location of rock and other utilities. Now that they've figured out where the obstacles are located, Lichman expects the second phase to progress more smoothly than the first.

Phase two is tentatively scheduled to last until August 12, though Lichman says its possible they may finish as early as August 6. The second phase doesn’t require crews to work as far out into the road as the first phase, which Lichman hopes will make the lives of State College residents a little easier.

“I can’t say that we’ll have two lanes open all the time, but we’ll aim for two whenever possible,” Lichman says. “Traffic should be a little smoother than before.”

Following the completion of phase two, the water authority will begin the third and final phase of the project. Crews will remove the temporary blacktop currently in place, then completely resurface the affected areas.

There will be one temporary delay before everything is wrapped up. The water authority will stop work on the project from July 3 to July 16 to accommodate the July 4th holiday and the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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