Hamilton St. back to normal now


At first, residents of Harrison Gardens probably thought they were seeing a mirage: As of Aug. 8, their stretch of Hamilton St., between Schuyler and Franklin Aves., was open.

No longer clogged with barricades, dirt, above-ground pipes, construction crews, the block was clear and they could actually park their cars on both sides of the street. It meant that, at long last, the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) had completed the relining of more than 1,500 feet of the 42-inch concrete Kearny- Harrison-Newark branch interceptor sewer line dating from 1924 and repairs to five manholes.

When the contractor was hired to do the work, the PVSC agreed to pay about $900,000 and figured the job would be done within six months.

It ended up costing $3.9 million with the time stretching over two years, based on figures provided by the commission’s chief engineer, according to PVSC spokeswoman Hollie Gilroy.

Gilroy said the original scope of work included the relining of 1,200 feet of sewer and the rehabilitation of four manholes; the revised scope included the replacement and relining of an additional 380 feet of sewer and an additional manhole,” Gilroy said.

Asked what complicated the job, Gilroy said that, “Significant ground water issues were encountered as part of the excavation required for the sewer and manhole replacement work. Ground water issues were the main cause of the schedule delays and cost overruns.”

Despite all the travails that accompanied the job – including having to provide a substitute water service for the Gardens for four days – Harrison Public Works Superintendent Robert Van Riper said it could’ve been a lot worse, given the magnitude of the job and a horrid winter. Plus, during the job, PSE&G had to relocate its power lines to the other side of Hamilton St. so the contractor would have room to work, Van Riper said.

“I want to give a shout to the PVSC for staying with it,” Van Riper said. “They did everything they said they’d do. It went as smoothly as it could possibly have gone. Everything was like synergy.”

Van Riper said the PVSC interceptor line had collapsed and the contractor had to dig down some 30 feet to lay in a new section of pipe with a liner.

“Every time it rained, they’d have to put in a sewer bypass line and we’re talking about a big trunk line on the south side of Hamilton that runs from Kearny to the Passaic Valley plant in Newark,” he said.

And Harrison Gardens received a new six-inch water service line, valve-to-valve, on the north side of Hamilton, replacing a line that had persistent leaks, he said. “Now, the leaks have been resolved.”

 – Ron Leir 

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