Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 17, 2014

Division Street residents stuck in sewer limbo

TRAVERSE CITY — Division Street residents Bill Greene and James Begeman might live in Traverse City’s most unfortunate place for a sewer, as evidenced by a possible repair bill of more than $60,000 to fix their collapsed line.

Greene and Begeman own neighboring houses on the west side of Division Street that share a sewer connection to a sewer main on the east side of the street. The sewer collapsed beneath the road and the two neighbors were stunned by the cost to run a new line and reroute traffic on the state highway.

“It’s like winning the unlucky lottery,” Greene said. “I’ve spent six hours a day for nine days trying to get a resolution to this and everybody keeps telling me ‘Good luck.’”

Greene calls his location the black hole of the city’s sewers system, a two-to-three block stretch on Division Street south of West Front Street where properties don’t have sewer access through an alley or city street.

Greene said his quote to run lines under the highway by horizontal drilling was $38,500. But city officials discourage drilling, the state’s preferred method, because water mains, storm sewers, or other utilities may be present beneath the road.

“No one is going to blindly horizontal drill through pipes and hope they miss everything,” said Dave Green, director of the city’s Department of Public Works. “By the time they dig holes to locate everything, a lot of times it’s just easier to trench it.”

It’s also more expensive, Bill Greene said. A major part of the cost is rerouting traffic for a state highway.

“The cost is exorbitant and it’s really going to inconvenience drivers,” Begeman said. “We’re just hoping the city will step up and realize we need assistance with this and help us do it at a reasonable cost.”

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