The detours and construction on East Main Street are the result of a Kutztown Borough project to replace an out-of-date water line and improve water pressure for emergency and residential services.
Since April, East Main Street in Kutztown has been under construction to replace an old galvanized steel water line and system which has been in place since the 1940s.
The old 4-inch galvanized steel line running beneath East Main is being replaced with a new 8-inch copper system and the connections to local residences, businesses and fire hydrants are also being updated. The old connections were susceptible to cracking and leaking, and indeed, upon pre-replacement inspection, many were found to already be in a state of disrepair, according to Kutztown Borough Wastewater Plant Manager Dale Kramer.
'When we got in there, some of these connections were already cracked or leaking,' said Kramer.
During an interview with Kramer, who is in charge of the project, and Gabriel Khalife, the Borough Manager, they said that the $1.7 million project was contracted out to engineering firm Spotts, Stevens, & McCoy, Inc.; which does most water projects in Kutztown.
As is standard practice, Spotts, Stevens, & McCoy was contracted to do the work because they proffered the lowest bid, said Kramer.
The borough is aiming for a completion date of Sept. 30. This fits in with their project timeline for a road improvement project scheduled to take place in 2015-2016.
'We want to make sure that the project is complete, the system is working fine and the road has a chance to settle before we go and fix the road,' said Khalife.
When asked for comment about the value of this project to the community at large, Khalife and Kramer came up with the following four reasons.
'The line was just old,' said Khalife, and 'improving it and its connections will allow for improved fire protection.'
During the ongoing project, which has initiated detours along the stretch of East Main leading up to the ramp for Rt. 222 towards Allentown, Fire, police and school buses have been granted increased access due to necessity.
Secondly, 'Improving the connections will allow for more reliable residential connections and better drinking water pressure for these buildings,' said Kramer.
Thirdly, the retrofitting of the old galvanized system to copper 'should drive up property values along East Main,' said Khalife.
Finally, there will generally be an improved water pressure throughout, allowing for a better supply to residences and a more efficient, cost-effective system, according to Kramer and Khalife.