Monday, Oct 22, 2018
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Newly paved Douglas Road dug up again

Future city roadway work will include sewer repairs

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    Douglas Road from Sylvania Avenue to Laskey Road was reconstructed last year. But three sections of newly paved road were recently torn up again to fix damaged sewers.

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Street work can be a headache, but doing the same work twice is just ridiculous, one Toledo councilman said.

Douglas Road from Sylvania Avenue to Laskey Road in West Toledo was reconstructed last year after water lines were replaced. But three sections of newly paved road were recently torn up again to fix damaged sewers.

The damage to those sewers — the same sewers that were exposed and easily accessible last year when the road was removed for the water line replacement and road repaving — was unforeseeable, the city’s top street engineer said.

Taxpayers paid again this month for three sections of Douglas to be excavated, the sewers to be repaired, and another fresh paving of those sections, said Doug Stephens, administrator for Toledo’s division of engineering services.

BLADE BRIEFING: Ignazio Messina on Douglas Road work

The sewer damage was discovered when it was being lined to increase its durability and lifespan. Mr. Stephens said the liner is “a hard synthetic material” set inside sewers to extend its life by about 50 years.

“It essentially makes a new pipe inside a pipe,” he said.

The sewers were inspected with cameras last year during the lengthy roadwork and water main replacement project, but the damage was either not noticeable or it was caused later by vibrations from the paving project, Mr. Stephens said.

“We use video looking for leaking joints, but sometimes you can’t always see some of the issues that exist in the pipe,” he said. “We did a bunch of repairs upfront; we went back and started doing the lining, and they ran across some areas they couldn’t line.”

The lining is inserted from manhole to manhole, Mr. Stephens said.

District 5 Councilman Tom Waniewski, a Republican who is running for mayor this year, said it was ridiculous the lining project was not completed when the road was open, which would have avoided needing to re-excavate for a second time in a year.

Mike Weigandt of Oak Grove Place was among motorists and residents wondering why the street was being torn up again after such a recent major reconstruction.

“I have avoided Douglas Road for years because of the construction,” Mr. Weigandt said. “I used to go to Kroger, and it was really nice until I got to Laskey, which was restricted to one lane and someone was digging up the new road. We spent nine months and millions of dollars on that and they are digging it again and that is very frustrating.”

He sent an email to Mr. Waniewski, stating: “I do not know how much we spent... plus two years and the first thing that happens is we dig it up? Can we get a refund on this?”

The affected areas are not huge — two patches that are about 91-square-feet each and a third section that is 64-square-feet, city spokesman Janet Schroeder said.

Even though they were small sections, the situation lead to a policy change: Future roadway projects will include sewer lining before repaving, Mr. Stephens said.

The additional cost to dig up the three sections, fix the sewer, and repave the sections will be taken from the city’s sewer repaid fund, he said.

Ms. Schroeder later said damage to one of the sewer sections was fixed by the contractor that installed the water main “at no expense to the city.”

She said the the pavement restoration costs for all three sections was just $3,100.

The water line construction project started in October, 2015, which closed southbound Douglas between Laskey and Sylvania Avenue until spring, 2016. The road work caused a number of detours and lane restrictions stretching to late last year. The water main project cost $1,300,612 and the roadway reconstruction cost about $5,552,000.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.

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