LANE CLOSED — The right lane westbound on Erie Boulevard West will be closed for about 1,700 feet from Arsenal Street to Doxtator Street at least until Monday as repair crews diagnose and fix a sewer line clog. (Sentinel photo by Makenzi Enos)

Fouled up sewer closes lane on boulevard

Published Jan 7, 2017 at 11:30am

A clogged sewer line has forced the city to close one lane of Erie Boulevard West, and at least that lane will be closed for a few days up to a week, depending on the extent of the problem, said Public Works Commissioner Frederick L. Schmidt this morning.

Crews who have been busy this week fixing water line and sewer line issues of various degrees, were back in action Friday. A few days ago they had initially broke up a grease plug, Schmidt said. The same problem cropped up again, he said, but the simple fix didn’t work this time, indicating a bigger problem.

So crews worked Friday from late morning until 11:30 p.m., and were back on the scene this morning. Pumping equipment was being brought in to do a bypass.

While the work is done, at least the northern most westbound lane of the boulevard will be closed. There will be signage, cones and barrels set up. The closure will run about 1,700 feet from Arsenal Street west to Doxtator Street.

The 12-inch vitrified clay pipe is probably at least 60 years old, Schmidt said. (Newer material is often plastic or ductile iron.)

“We think it’s the grease plug, but we don’t know,” Schmidt said. The next step is to put a camera into the line to check the problem. If the camera can show the issue, crews will be able to avoid having to dig 15-feet down to the line to physically diagnose the problem.

Fixing the problem could take as long as a week, Schmidt said. “It won’t be completed today.”