Sewer repair may take longer than expected

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The work on Mahoning Avenue in Youngstown that has shut down the bridge is going to take at least a week, if not more.

It is what they found while digging to get to the collapsed sewer line that has caused the extra work.

When digging to make the repairs, crews came across an old trolley rail line. Getting around it or removing it is stalling the project.

“Instead of taking out the old trolley line, all they did was pave over it. That is making the digging down here twice as tough because they have to cut out the old trolley line and that is some pretty tough steel,” Youngstown Waste Water Treatment Plant worker Mike Lyon said.

The fact that Youngstown’s street railway company lines still exist came as a surprise to Mahoning Valley Historical Society Executive Director Bill Lawson. He said he has seen leftover rails in other cities, but never in Youngstown.

“I generally thought, like in most cities, once they abandoned the rail lines, especially during World War II with the demand for steel, they would have torn them all out and melted then down and used them for something else like war production, but there they are,” Lawson said. “They have been paved over or torn out. It is really interesting and neat to see these tracks from Mahoning Avenue.”

Lawson said Youngstown had a street railway company for about 60 years from the mid 1870’s to about 1937. He admired the piece of history as it laid in a pile of cut out pieces.

“This is the bottom flange of the rail and then the mail rail part there and here’s the top flange and then this groove where it us just filled in with dirt and concrete. That is where the street car wheels ran on the rail,” Lawson said.

Lawson spoke with the contractor and was told they will be able to cut off a 6-inch piece of the rail line. It will then be put on display at the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.

Crews are working around the clock to replace the sewer line and they are thinking ahead to the weekend, which promises to bring cooler temperatures, snow and rain.

Lyon said they brought in two additional, rented pumps to alleviate the rain and sewer water that will come down through the pipe.

“We have been putting pumps together trying to keep the residents from getting backed up again and replacing pipe that is basically full of debris from the break we had,” Lyon said.

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