You can’t blame people living along the eastern stretch of Hamilton St., between Kingsland and Schuyler Aves., for feeling like they’re in a sort of war zone.
For many months, the area has been inundated with a tangle of above-ground pipes and barricades blocking traffic flow and uprooting curbside parking for the entire block.
Harrison Gardens, the sprawling public housing complex, sits on the south side of Hamilton and Harrison High School fronts on the north side.
The issue is a massive infrastructure project being tackled by the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) which has dragged on since last summer, seemingly with no end in sight.
PVSC spokeswoman Hollie Gilroy identified the project as a repair of the Kearny-Harrison- Newark branch interceptor sewer.
Gilroy said the job involves “the rehabilitation of approximately 2,000 feet of 42-inch concrete interceptor sewer constructed in 1924 that runs along Schuyler and Hamilton within the towns of Kearny and Harrison.”
She said the job is being done in three phases, two of which are completed.
As of last month, Gilroy said, “The third phase is currently underway but has been delayed due to unforeseen soil/ground water conditions. We are performing additional testing of the soils with an anticipated engineered solution shortly.”
When that solution is arrived at, Gilroy said, “we will resume construction work on Hamilton to correct the deficiencies. The work is comprised of the rehabilitation of the interceptor sewer utilizing a cured-inplace liner, rehabilitation of six manholes and the replacement of sections of the sewer.”
During an earlier phase of the job performed last summer, part of Schuyler Ave. was closed to vehicular traffic while the contractor, Green Mountain Pipeline Services of South Royalton, Vt., relined the interceptor between Dukes and Hamilton Sts.
Above-ground pipes were stretched out along Schuyler to bypass the main sewer and wastes were pumped around the construction site to ensure that all sewage was being conveyed to the PVSC treatment plant.
As of this week, similar above-ground pipes stretched along Hamilton St.
Gilroy said that more than $2 million has been allocated thus far toward the project.
The work can’t end too soon for Harrison Councilman Larry Bennett, who serves as chairman of the Harrison Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.
“It’s been horrible,” Bennett said. “The parking is horrible and there’s no through traffic. Everybody has to do a detour to get in and out of the area.”
Mayor James Fife said that no work is going on now but that the PVSC engineers hope to have a plan of attack to finish the job by April 15. “They’re 20 feet down and things have been caving in the area,” he added.
“The people down there have been very patient,” Fife said. “It’s been nine months now.”
– Ron Leir