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New sewage line requires underwater construction

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Water construction

Wausau, Wis. (WAOW) -- If you’ve driven on the Thomas Street bridge recently, you probably wondered what the construction was on the water.

Earlier this month the city began a project to replace wastewater lines that have been in place since 1941. 

Some main city wastewater lines run underneath the Wisconsin River, just south of Thomas Street. — providing unique challenges for  its replacement.

The project requires an advanced underwater trench — only the third project of its kind in state history.

The private general construction company carrying out the project; Janke says they are confident in the execution of the trench based on the relationship they have with company that has taken the same approach prior.

Not only does the underwater trench minimize the disruption of the river itself, it is cost effective as well. 

City engineer Eric Lindham explained that after a lengthy planning process, in partnership with the DNR, the new lines will be up to code, and fulfill city;s needs for the future. 

“It’s [current system] served us well, but it is eighty years old so it’s in our best interest as a sewer utility to get that line replaced. We’re replacing it with two separate lines — for redundancy as per DNR requirements” said Lindham. 

While you can’t see the trench, you can see the bouys restricting river access.

The project closes off Oak Island boat launch’s access to the south of the river — and will for the rest of the summer. 

While there will be construction transportation across the bridge — the city says the traffic impact is expected to be minimal for the duration of the project. 

The project began just after July fourth, and is expected to be complete by the end of October. 

The city urges those using the waterways to stay their distance from the construction zone. Underwater obstacles and equipment provide dangers that can be unseen from the surface.

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Addison Van Patten

Sports Reporter

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