More infrastructure repairs needed

As crews pave Spring Street from Harriott Avenue to Center Street, a pedestrian walks by a sinkhole that has developed on the corner. The area has been cordoned off and a steel plate put over the hole until it can be repaired. (By Richard Sayer)

Two more projects have been added to Oil City’s growing list of infrastructure repairs.

City Manager Mark Schroyer said sinkholes were recently discovered on Colbert Avenue and near the intersection of Spring Street and Harriott Avenue.

Further investigation revealed that deteriorating storm/sanitary water lines were the cause of the sag in the roadways, Schroyer said.

The Colbert Avenue portion is the result of a 100-year-old storm waterline that has deteriorated to a point where it is collapsing, causing a need for immediate attention.

The second section of roadway, directly in front of the Allegheny Overlook apartment complex, is being affected by a similar problem with a storm water/sanitary combination line.

Clarion-based Terra Works has already been working in the area of Spring Street since August to complete a $944,449 project that included replacing a waterline that extended up Plummer Street.

That line burst in November, causing a rippling effect on the roadway.

Barb Crudo, the mayor at the time of the incident, declared it an emergency situation due to the danger it presented to motorists.

Crudo did the same the month before when a culvert collapsed on West First Street, costing the city about $65,000 to repair it.

Current Mayor Bill Moon Jr. declared an emergency situation again in April when another culvert, this time in the 200 block of Bissell Avenue, started to collapse because of old age.

The price tag for the Bissell Avenue repairs was much higher, ending up at about $162,000, Schroyer said.

Terra Works has been contracted to complete the two new projects at a cost of about $95,000, and part of the repairs will include repaving the intersection of Spring Street and Harriott Avenue, Schroyer said.

Work is expected to begin sometime in November after the completion of the Spring Street/Plummer Street project.

Schroyer said these types of projects are troublesome because there is a high likelihood of them popping up again due to the aging infrastructure around the city.

“With all of the storm sewer and sanitary systems constructed around the same time, I believe the problems are going to continue only because the age of everything is causing them to go bad at the same time,” he said.

Schroyer also said having to pay for the projects makes managing the city’s finances more difficult.

“These kind of repairs are unforeseen,” he said. “We do budget money for regularly scheduled maintenance and minor repairs, but by no means do we have $300,000 or $400,000 for spot repairs…These are very concerning.”