03/04/10 — Pipeline under Spence forces repair

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Pipeline under Spence forces repair

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on March 4, 2010 1:46 PM

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Goldsboro Public Works Director Neil Bartlett surveys a hole in Spence Avenue. The road is currently closed and is estimated to cost $250,000 to repair.

Staring some 15 feet down through one of several large holes along Spence Avenue near its intersection with Elm Street, City Engineer Marty Anderson said he did not feel comfortable even walking on the section of the popular thoroughfare closed by city officials over the weekend.

And the major structural failure that concerns him -- one that will require the closure to remain in effect for the next few months -- will not be easy, or cheap, to repair.

Anderson, alongside Public Works Director Neil Bartlett, said Tuesday it could cost up to $250,000 to replace the 84-inch corrugated metal pipe they say simply wore down over time.

But doing so is critical, Bartlett said, as the whole point of constructing the pipeline was to allow Richland Creek -- one of Stoney Creek's major tributaries -- to pass under Spence.

"It just failed. It outlived it's lifetime," Bartlett said. "It's corroded, and over a period of time, when it failed, all the rain water we had, particularly about three weeks ago, washed out around the pipe and undermined the pavement. ... So right now, there is a fairly large section of pavement with no support at all."

Anderson said he is currently looking into several solutions that would allow drivers, and those who walk along Spence Avenue, to resume business as usual.

But regardless of which they choose, it will likely take two to three months -- and a substantial allocation of funds from the City Council -- to reach that end.

"This is real bad," Anderson said, looking back down. "Right here, there is no soil up under here. It drops off. I feel uncomfortable even standing over there. ... You see how deep it is to the creek?"

Council members have already been briefed on the situation -- the extent of the damage, the cause and the projected cost to correct it.

But until they act, residents are being urged to avoid the block of Spence closest to its intersection with Elm.

Officials have set up barricades around the area and are warning those who might go down to the roadside for a look that the consequences could be fatal.

"Right now, we're erring on the side of caution," Anderson said. "If somebody were to fall through, they would go down some 15 to 20 feet. That could be real bad."