The City of Windsor is investing $8.5 million to rehabilitate century-old sewer pipes in the Sandwich Street-area with the hopes of causing minimal disruption to the historic neighbourhood.
The unique project, announced by Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens Thursday morning, will clean and repair over three kilometres of sanitary and storm sewers between Rosedale Avenue to Ojibway Parkway using a "less disruptive" and "cost effective" relining method.
"These tools that are on the table ... [allow us] to reline the existing sewer infrastructure in a trenchless way that doesn't require digging up all of the road," explained Dilkens at the Thursday news conference.
The new project uses existing sewer structures to access the main line sewer. Dilkens said robotic cameras have already been sent underground to conduct detailed video surveys of the pipes.
For areas in need of repair, a felt liner will be saturated with a resin and inserted into the sewer which will "act as a new pipe within a pipe," he said.
Dilkens said the project will rehabilitate the aging pipes, but will also "reduce the amount of open cutting ... minimize the impacts to traffic, emergency services, properties, residents, businesses and pedestrians in this area. We'll also see less dust, less noise, significantly less surface restoration and the potential to damage other infrastructure."
According to the city, the work will reduce the amount of clean storm water that infiltrates the sanitary sewer system, increase pipe capacity, and reduce the risk of localized basement flooding.
City engineer Mark Winterton said the technology being used in this project has been used many times in the past by the city in difficult digging locations where pipes are less efficient. He added the process is not fast, and is expected to be completed by September 2021.
It also sets up future work in the area.
"A lot of the work that's being identified in the sewer master plan is off the sides of Sandwich Street, so retention is being put on the side streets and additional capacity is being done on the adjacent corridors," said Winterton.
The relining method also reduces the possibility of running into "archeological issues" in the historic neighbourhood. Dilkens said additional pipes in the area will need to be reconstructed which will require some digging. He said the city is planning to do that work as other roadwork happens, and with an archeologist on site.
Ward 2 Coun. Fabio Costante said he is excited to see the improvements underway on Sandwich Street, especially since they're being done in a minimally disruptive way.
"This important Ward 2 corridor serves the families who live and work in the area, and acts as a connector for those travelling into and out of the city core. I'm pleased that we'll be able to complete this work with minimal disruptions for residents and commuters, while laying the groundwork for future improvements," said Costante.
The sewer work is being done ahead of upcoming improvements planned by the Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority and Bridging North America groups in connection with the construction phase of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
The upcoming work will include new curbs, sidewalks, trails, new pavement, bike lanes and streetscaping along the same stretch of Sandwich Street.