NORTH RIDGEVILLE — With an estimated 40 water line breaks occurring last year, city officials are going to have to look at setting aside money to begin the slow process of fixing them up.
Lines that need replaced are being prioritized on a capital improvements list being drawn up by City Engineer Scott Wangler, who is looking to replace abut 28,000 feet of lines through 2024.
Wangler said that 2024 is so far off that it’s meant to be used as a general guideline rather than a deadline.
“The more money I get, the faster we can do the list. The less money we get, the further out that date extends,’’ he said. “If you give me $200,000 a year, we can chip away at it.”
To take care of all the city’s problem spots will easily cost in the millions, Wangler said.
“If we don’t fix lines quickly enough, the list just gets longer,” Wangler said. “And if lines go bad faster, then we’re just playing catch-up to fix them.”
The list of projects is topped by Cornell Avenue, which has about 2,260 feet of 8-inch water pipe that needs to be replaced. The lines are believed to be 40 to 50 years old and would cost an estimated $300,000 to replace, Wangler said.
Another top priority is South Barton Road, where Wangler estimates it would take $287,500 to replace about 2,300 feet of line.
Wangler talked about the situation with City Council, which soon will begin discussions on the 2012 budget and city departments’ request for funds.
“We know there were more water line breaks in 2011 than in 2010, and a lot of these systems have not been updated in quite some time,” Council President Kevin Corcoran, R-at large, said. “Every year we have a number of very worthy projects. The same thing can be said about roads. But there’s only so much money to go around. We’re going to have to make some tough choices.”
Dennis Boose, D-2nd Ward, agreed with Wangler that waiting to address the problem will only cost more later.
“There are many streets in the city and my ward that have older water lines that need attention,” Boose said. “If we don’t do it now, we’ll only pay more in the longrun and cause aggravation to residents when breakdowns happen. The longer you wait, the worse it gets.”
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.