MOORHEAD — Over the summer, getting around the streets and avenues just south of Main Avenue in downtown Moorhead could sometime be like maneuvering a maze, with above-ground sewer pipes down the middle of the road and road-closed signs everywhere. But while it may appear little work is going on, the work is happening beneath the roadway.
"Our largest sanitary sewers in the city were made 80-90 years ago and were made of brick and mortar. When labor was cheap, they hand-built these sewer pipes into the ground," explained Moorhead City Engineer Tom Trowbridge.
Instead of digging up streets and avenues in the city's downtown, the old brick and mortar is staying. Instead, a fascinating process will line the old sewer pipes.
"(It's) much less work than trying to dig a 25-foot deep hole in the middle of the street. It would require us to tear up the entire street and that takes a lot longer to do," Trowbridge said.
Recently, crews used video cameras to inspect, measure and photograph the old brick and mortar pipes. They sent the footage to a manufacturer who makes the new liner. Crews plan on installing the liner the evening of Monday, July 26, once the temperature drops.
"It looks like a really big fire hose; it is flexible," Trowbridge said. "They impregnate it with resin."
The resin-filled liner is put in the pipe, and water is heated. A remote-control unit then cuts the openings for all the sewer connections.
"They blow it up, (and it) fills to the size of the pipe and falls in place," Trowbridge said. "It really minimizes the impact to the public."
The process may seem like it is taking more time, but in the long run, it is saving time and money with no work to repair the busy streets that run above.
The same process will be done at the busy intersections north of Main Avenue and Eighth Street.