A water line replacement project in downtown Latrobe is nearing the finish line.

Authority engineer Mark Gera of Gibson-Thomas Engineering Co. Inc. said at Tuesday’s Latrobe Municipal Authority (LMA) Board of Directors meeting, which was held remotely via phone, that contractor Jet Jack Inc. is nearly finished with its portion of project. He said the contractor is wrapping up paving work in the city and will then have a number of punch list items to address.

On May 4, Jet Jack completed a pair of tie-ins along Lloyd Avenue and also connected a final service line to the Castle Co-Packers LLC facility, authority manager Terri Hauser said.

“Everything from here on out is restoration work,” she said of the project.

Gera said it hasn’t been determined when the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) portion of the project will begin. The agency had temporarily suspended all operations — including construction, aside from critical and emergency work — because of coronavirus concerns.

Before the statewide construction shutdown, plans were in place for PennDOT to start work in March, while the water line project was expected to be finished in April.

“Based on what we’re hearing now, liquid fuel money is going to be down 90%. PennDOT is only going to go with existing projects that have been or (are) under construction, which may push back the Latrobe project to a later date,” Gera told the authority board.

The water line work is being done in preparation for now-delayed improvements to nine city intersections this spring at Depot, Ligonier and Main streets. City officials said other intersection upgrades — once work begins — will include updated traffic signals and handicapped-accessible curb ramps, along with fresh pavement. The project also calls for the replacement of 11 nearby fire hydrants.

Engineers said the work includes the “traffic loop” at Lloyd Avenue and Unity Street, a section that wasn’t done as part of a previous water line replacement project along Route 981.

Jet Jack last year was awarded the project contract with a bid of roughly $1.8 million. The project will replace approximately 7,000 feet of 100-year-old cast iron water lines along several city streets.

Also Tuesday, Hauser said the authority has largely resumed normal operations. She noted that LMA now boasts a full work force and is performing all in-house operations, including meter reading, meter changes and dye testing, the latter of which the authority had briefly halted because of coronavirus concerns.

Hauser said the authority plans to soon reopen its office to the public. Once the building is open, she said face coverings will be required and added that a plastic shield will be placed near the front entrance for an extra level of protection between employees and customers.

In other business:

  • Hauser told the board that a few customers expressed concerns with a recent odor discovered at LMA’s wastewater treatment plant. She said previously that the odor was the result of an “unknown substance that has entered the treatment plant, disabling the necessary bacteria to effectively treat” wastewater;
  • The board approved payments in the water department, including a total of $6,102.50 to Gibson-Thomas for chlorine residual design work and $432 for Brewery Bridge utility attachment work;
  • Approved PennVEST water department requisition payments of $156,084.70 to Jet Jack and $16,716 to Gibson-Thomas for water line replacement work;
  • Approved payments in the wastewater department, including: $215,744.83 to Mele & Mele & Sons Inc. and $25,164 to Gibson-Thomas for work on the equalization tank, and a combined $688 to Gibson-Thomas for interceptor repairs and the replacement of a mechanical bar screen;
  • Approved financial statements for the water and wastewater departments for the period of Jan. 1 through March 31;
  • Approved invoices of $887.50 and $912.80 to solicitor Lee Demosky for wastewater department business;
  • Gera said the project contractor is expected to begin work at the Nine Mile Run interceptor today, May 20;
  • The board entered an executive session Tuesday related to wastewater department litigation.

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