Charleston Sanitary Board concerned about Porters Hollow project delays

CHRIS DORST | Gazette-Mail file photo
Workers with Tri-State Pipeline Inc., of Barboursville, replace sewer lines in February on Porter Road. The project closed the road for weeks.

A major sewer line project is months behind schedule, causing the Charleston Sanitary Board to say it is concerned.

The Porters Hollow sewer replacement project is more than 70 days behind schedule, according to the Charleston Sanitary Board. The project will replace outdated pipelines in the area, which encompasses Porter Road, Anderson Heights Road, Hilltop Court, Somerlayton Road and part of Loudon Heights Road.

Barboursville-based Tri-State Pipeline is working on the $10 million project, which was supposed to take about a year.

The company did not respond to an interview request.

When contractors began in October, the project was stuck in planning for months. Ground wasn’t broken until February, according to Charleston Sanitary Board General Manager Larry Roller.

“Four months is an extremely long time to break ground,” Roller said.

Roller said Tri-State Pipeline assured the board it would still complete the project on time by working extra hours and adding manpower at the site. Roller said the company repeated that sentiment in meetings in March, April and May.

But in a meeting earlier this month, Tristate Pipeline told the board the project was delayed by more than two months. At that point more than 70 percent of the contract’s time had already elapsed. About 14 percent of the project had been completed at the time of that meeting, Roller said.

“It isn’t terribly unusual that you get a little bit behind, but this is a lot behind,” Roller said.

Roller wants to emphasize the board is not upset with Tri-State’s quality of work.

“It isn’t that they’re performing badly — they’re performing slowly,” Roller said.

About 1 mile of the 4.75-mile project — an area in which 130 costumers live — is complete now.

If the delays continue, it will hinder the next phase of the project, a 5.5-mile line replacement that goes to Holz Elementary, including several more roads. That project affects 160 more customers.

Tim Haapala, the sanitary board’s operations manager, said delays also cause more problems for people who live in the area. Roads have to be closed as part of the project, inconveniencing drivers throughout the area.

“The longer this continues, there’s more mud and dust that our customers have to live through,” Haapala said.

If the project gets pushed back, other parts of it will be delayed, including landscaping, which can only be completed in warm weather. It will also delay other large projects that the sanitary board planned to start at the beginning of next year. Additional costs may come because of the delays as well.

“You just start building a big snowball as the days go on,” Roller said.

Reach Ali Schmitz at

ali.schmitz@wvgazettemail.com,

304-348-4843 or follow

@SchmitzMedia on Twitter.

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