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City launches $550,000 sewer main construction

Despite recent challenges that question the development’s legality, Port Orchard city officials are betting that — sooner or later — McCormick Woods will expand into McCormick Village, bringing hundreds of new residents to the area.

And the city will be ready for them.

On Monday, a team of backhoes and other earthmoving equipment started tearing up the side of Port Orchard Boulevard, creating a trench for a little more than a mile of new sewer main. The 10- to 12-inch old main, which runs under the road’s traveling lanes, is near capacity and rather then rip the whole road up, the city decided to simply run a second line in parallel with the first.

The new line, which will measure between 12 inches and 18 inches in diameter, will handle all solid waste coming from greater McCormick Woods. The old line will carry just the waste coming from the area south of Tremont Street — a smaller service area that will likely grow more slowly than its neighbor to the west. The balance will also ease the current load in the smaller pipe.

City engineer Larry Curles said the decision to lay a second pipe instead of replacing the original — the usual practice for sewer improvements — was primarily a financial one. By laying the second pipe in the shoulder of the road, Curles explained, the city avoids paying for asphalt cutting and replacement — a pricey job that would significantly inflate the estimated $550,000 cost of the entire project.

The decision to lay the pipe on the west edge of the road also means fewer traffic interruptions. Most of the equipment will work within the right climbing lane of the road, leaving two lanes open to travel.

In fact, Curles said, the only major traffic hassle is already over — it ended earlier this week when crews finished installing a new manhole on Tremont.

Unusually for a project of this size, the entire cost is being borne by the city and will be paid out of existing funds. Curles said the city has been saving its sewer connection fees for years in order to pay for this project and will not incur any debt on it as a result.

“We’ve been managing this fund very carefully knowing this day was coming,” Curles said.

The project is expected to continue through June. The next major traffic interruption is expected to occur sometime near the end of construction, when crews install a new manhole in Bay Street.

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