This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Melville Street

For many months there has been construction on Melville Street on the east side of Rensselaer. The city is putting in a new storm sewer line. Rensselaer has a combined sewer system in which the storm water enters the regular sewer system. The result is that when we get really heavy rains, sewers back up in basements. It has happened to me multiple times, and it is one of Rensselaer's bad features.

The construction has been slowly moving north and presently stops at the railroad tracks. Today I decided to take some pictures. The first one is from the train tracks looking south. Columbia Park is on the right.

Near the tracks the roadbed is crushed limestone. In this section the new storm sewers are installed and covered and new street drains have been installed.

We are now south of Columbia Park and have met a strange machine. I am not sure what it does. On the sides of the street you can see that the curbs have been poured and are curing under tarps. The road is still composed of crushed limestone.
There is more equipment a block further south. Along the sides of the road, the curbs and the new sidewalk are exposed. The first layer of asphalt has been put on the street, covering the crushed limestone base.
Outside of Van Rensselaer school there is a trio of machines. If you look at the lower right you will see that the workers have been busy installing the second layer of asphalt. The street is almost at the level of the curbs.

Crossing highway 114 we find the finished product. In July and August the street here was dug out about a foot below where it is now.
At the river we finally see the pipe that is the point of all the road destruction and reconstruction. Future major rains will send a torrent of water rushing into the river through this pipe. And since the regular sewer system will not be overloaded, maybe my basement will stay dry.
With the combined sewer system, heavy rains overwhelm the sewage treatment plant and as a result, water with raw sewage is released into the Iroquois River. It is this problem, and not so much the water in basements, that has been the stimulus for the Melville Street project. After all, we live in a flat area where the water table is not too far from the surface. As a result, basements are the exception in Rensselaer.

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