The long-awaited repairs to the water main at the Chatsworth Avenue Bridge are beginning this week, according to a November 18 announcement from Larchmont Village Mayor Liz Feld. Rather than replace the antique pipes, Larchmont will be able to save close to $1 million by relining them. This will take approximately three weeks.
Workers will be out during weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm. “We realize that the Thanksgiving holiday is approaching, and we have asked the contractors not to do any work over that weekend,” said the mayor.
There will be some disruption of traffic, with intermittent closures of lanes on Chatsworth Avenue. Larchmont police will be in charge of traffic control.
But there should not be an impact on train or highway use. “The bulk of the work is to be done on either end of the pipe so it won’t necessitate shutting down Metro North or I-95,” said Rick Vetere, Larchmont’s general foreman. “Having said that, anything can go wrong. That’s why the major work will occur after the holiday.”
Why the Delay?
This project has been on Larchmont’s to-do list for years.
Attending to the water main was something recommended by Larchmont’s last engineer, Mike Lepre, when he left the position in 2004. A 2001 estimate for relining the pipes was approximately $91,000, according to Mayor Feld.
In a debate prior to her election in 2006, Ms. Feld criticized her opponent – the incumbent mayor, Ken Bialo – for ignoring the engineer’s advice. (See: Mayor Debate.)
Then, only a few months into the new administration on August 28, 2006, one of the pipes over the Chatsworth Bridge burst, spewing water near the Mamaroneck Town kiosk. That break was attributed to a rotted clamp and pipe.
Temporary repairs contained the damage, but Mayor Feld acknowledged that further action was required. At that point, a total replacement of the pipes was being contemplated.
However, work was delayed as Metro North, the New York State Thruway Authority and other entities made demands on design, placement and installation of the new main. The old main runs along the side of the bridge; one option would have required tunneling under I-95 and the Metro North tracks. Cost estimates ballooned to as high as $1,250,000, said Larchmont Village Treasurer Denis Brucciani.
More recently, it has been determined that relining rather than replacing the pipe is feasible. “With new technology, we can line the water main with material that should last for decades, and at much lower cost than replacing the entire pipe,” explained the mayor.
”It’s permanent and it’s structural,” said Mr. Vetere, who is working with consultant engineers Woodard and Curran to oversee the project.
This Time, Delay Leads to Savings
That’s good news for taxpayers: the estimated cost for the relining is slightly over $300,000, with an additional $64,000 for engineering services.
The funds for the project will come from a sale of bonds conducted in August, 2009, said Mr. Brucciani. Larchmont borrowed a total of $2,968,275 for 15 years at a rate of 3.53% to pay for the relining and a variety of other capital improvements.
“One of the greatest expenses for the project – up to $50,000 – is the outrageous fees Metro North charges for flagmen (we cannot use our own) to oversee work done above the railroad tracks,” said Mayor Feld. “Unfortunately, we have no control over their policy so we will do what we can to limit the duration of the construction.”
“After countless proposals, meetings, and negotiations with all of the relevant agencies we are ready to move ahead with the needed repairs. All I can say is, the ribbon cutting can’t come soon enough,” concluded the mayor.