Rains cause collapse of wall in stormwater outfall under construction

Project to help address Waynesboro's undersized and aging stormwater system is delayed by at least a month

November 02, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — A wall collapsed two weeks ago in a stormwater outfall under construction, delaying the project at least a month, local officials said.

Improvements being made to the outfall along Cemetery Avenue are the first phase of a multimillion-dollar project addressing Waynesboro's undersized and aging stormwater system.

Rains Oct. 19 caused the collapse of a wall near Cemetery Avenue's intersection with Church Street. The collapse occurred near Antietam Dairy.

"Water got in behind it. ... It was over an inch of rain in 15 minutes," said Kevin Grubbs, director of engineering services for the Borough of Waynesboro.

After the collapse, the first phase's estimated completion was extended from late October to late November.

The water ripped out a gabion attached to the wall, causing a domino effect of other baskets being torn out. Gabions are wire baskets that hold rocks or similar materials to secure walls and dams.

The project's engineers, contractor and the gabions' manufacturer reviewed the problem, Grubbs said. The borough will switch to a different, newer design of basket with a tailpiece that anchors into the wall, he said.

"It's still being discussed how that's going to affect the contract as far as overruns," Grubbs said.

Chambersburg, Pa., contractor David H. Martin Excavating was awarded a $922,000 contract for the first phase.

The borough is also encountering problems with phases 2 and 3, which primarily focus on changes to South Potomac Street's portion of the system. Bids came in $2.78 million higher than expected.

Municipal officials are hoping to make slight design changes to phases 2 and 3, and put them out to bid again in 2012. To do that, they would need a time extension on a $5 million low-interest loan awarded by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, or PennVEST.

Grubbs said he has not received official word from PennVEST about the extension, but he's hopeful it will be granted.

"PennVEST has been very cooperative with us all along," he said.

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