Construction on a broken sewage main on South Hill shut down the 300 block of Hillview Place.

Courtesy of the Cornell Chronicle

Construction on a broken sewage main on South Hill shut down the 300 block of Hillview Place.

February 5, 2020

Sewage Main Collapse Shuts Down Road on South Hill

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Emergency construction shut down part of Hillview Place on South Hill, barring all traffic at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, as city crews repaired a partially collapsed sewer main.

The construction crew will not work overnight, Nick Thomas, supervisor of the water distribution system, told The Sun. But the road is planned to reopen tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., when the construction will be completed, according to a City of Ithaca press release.

The City was alerted of a sewer backup at a house on the 300 block of Hillview Place this morning. A crew arrived shortly after to inspect the problem, and discovered the main’s partial collapse.

Aside from the closed road, only  one house’s sewage system will be affected for the duration of the construction, Thomas said.

In response, the city is digging up the main — which lies beneath the center of the road — and is replacing the broken section. According to Thomas, this kind of repair was expected, as the mains in that area are built out of clay tile pipe, which he estimated to be between 40 to 50 years old.

The breakage was not related to freezing temperatures, but could be related to recent nearby digging by NYSEG for gas and electric work, according to Thomas.

In the past, the city has worked proactively to fix old sewer mains, replacing the clay tile infrastructure with updated plastic mains, called SDR 30, Thomas said.

According to Thomas, because this project uses cheap materials, the main cost is just the wages of the crew members working on the project. Thomas did not provide a cost estimate.

“Everything should be back to normal by the end of the day tomorrow,” Thomas said.