Next stage of Strasburg utility work begins this summer

By Alex Bridges

Strasburg’s downtown utilities project moves into the next phase this summer.

Workers completed the first phase of replacing aging water and sewer pipes downtown two weeks ahead of schedule, according to Director of Public Works Mark Gundersen.

“We’re pretty excited about [the early completion] and we’re actually planning for phase two right now,” Gundersen said.

The first phase covered King Street from Fort Street to Holliday Street. Town workers left one lane of King Street open to traffic as they unearthed and replaced pipes at night. They completed the work with help from two private contractors, one of which had large equipment needed for excavation.

Gundersen said workers had to fight late bouts of winter weather to meet the construction deadline. Snow fell on the region on several Sundays in March, so workers had to remove the accumulation before they could resume work.

Town workers took equipment off the site on Thursday or Friday to prepare for snow removal, Gundersen said.

“The following Monday, after we were done with snow removal, we set it back up for construction work,” he said.

In spite of the weather, workers completed the first phase of the utility replacement project two weeks eary, and that helped the town begin preparations for Mayfest. Officials had planned for construction to end at least a few days prior to the beginning of Mayfest, which was held this past weekend.

The second phase calls for the replacement of utility lines on King Street from Capon Street near Dunkin Donuts to Fort Street. Gundersen said he and other town officials hope construction begins in early July. Construction would continue through early October, Gundersen said. Private contractors again will assist town workers during the project.

The same rules and advisories apply with the next phase. Gundersen said workers would try to keep one lane open along the two-block stretch. Some closures likely would occur on parts of Fort Street as workers replace water and sewer lines.

Utility work precedes the Downtown Streetscape Enhancement portion of the entire project. The town plans to hire a private contractor to perform the enhancements, which will include downtown sidewalk improvements and landscaping, among other amenities.

Strasburg officials expect final approval soon on the first phase of the streetscape project from the Virginia Department of Transportation and federal agencies, Gundersen said. Approval of the project design allows the town to advertise for bids from private firms. Town officials also are awaiting word that Strasburg can expect to receive a grant award for the second phase of the streetscape project, Gunderson said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com