Wastewater pipe repaired on Rogerson Drive, repair of wastewater pipe under Highway 54 and along Raleigh Road underway

Saturday, April 13, 2019 12:25:00 PM

On April 12, OWASA responded to a wastewater overflow at Rogerson Drive (near Raleigh Road) in Chapel Hill. The cause was a break in a wastewater pipe. Heavy rains increased the water that entered the system resulting in 2 additional overflows at the site. The repair on this section of the pipe on Rogerson Drive is complete. An additional leak was discovered on May 1, near where the new section of the pipe joins the old pipe. In responding to the leak, we discovered that this part of the original pipe, which runs under Highway 54 and along Raleigh Road, is corroding. We must replace the pipe as it is critical to the underground sewer collection system: it delivers approximately half of the community’s wastewater flow to the Wastewater Treatment Plant on Old Mason Farm Road.

Update: August 12, 2019

We have completed phase 1 (tunnel under Raleigh Road) and phase 2 (installation of a bypass line through the tunnel). We will now begin phase 3: the installation of about 700 feet of new, permanent wastewater pipe. The installation is expected to be complete by early to mid-September. When completed, the new pipe will be placed in service and the temporary above ground piping will be removed.

Update: June 10, 2019

We have developed a 4-phase plan to replace the corroded portion of the wastewater pipe under Highway 54 and Raleigh Road. Due to the sequential nature of the work, each phase must be completed before work on the next phase can begin. 

Phase 1 - Tunnel Under Raleigh Road - This new tunnel will be about 20 feet deep under Raleigh Road and will carry a new wastewater pipe to allow the damaged pipe to be replaced. Work to prepare the site for the specialized contractor to install the tunnel is expected to be complete mid-June. Boring the tunnel will begin at that time and is expected to take 3-4 weeks to complete.

Phase 2 - Install New Bypass Pipe - In early to mid-July, work will begin to install a new bypass pipe along the north side of Raleigh Road, through the new tunnel, connecting to existing piping on the south side of Raleigh Road. This new bypass piping will allow the existing damaged pipe to be replaced. Installation of the new bypass pipe is expected to be complete by the end of July to early August.

Phase 3 - Install New Permanent Pipe - About 700 feet of damaged pipe will be removed and replaced in the same location with new pipe. The new pipe is made of a material expected to have a long service life. Installation of the new pipe is expected to be complete by early to mid-September. When completed, the new pipe will be placed in service and the temporary above ground piping will be removed.

Phase 4 - Final Site and Road Restoration - Once phase 3 has been completed, work will begin to restore the road and site impacted by the work.

Throughout the project, most work will occur from 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday. Some weekend work during daylight will be needed. We are not planning any overnight work so as to not interfere with residents' sleep. Weather and other unforeseen conditions can affect the schedule and we will notify the community of any significant changes. 

We expect minimal lane closures of Raleigh Road during non-peak hours. Access to the East 54 complex and Prestwick Road should remain open. Bike and pedestrian travel in the work area will be detoured as needed. Rogerson Drive and Oakwood Drive will be closed periodically at their entrances to Raleigh Road. The construction work will involve noise, dust and heavy construction equipment. Safety is our highest priority and the work areas will be clearly marked.

Update: May 17, 2019

In order to access the wastewater pipe under Highway 54, we will need to install a bypass pipe at Oakwood Drive, so we can re-route the wastewater away from the corroded pipe. After the installation of the bypass, we will start to replace 700 feet of pipe under Hwy 54.

On Rogerson Drive, we will maintain some equipment on the southern tip of the road to ensure we have access to this end of the pipe and to prepare for repairs. We will have a similar construction area on the southern end of Oakwood Drive and in the green space on the southern side of 54.  We will stage the work to allow pedestrian traffic and local driving traffic to come and go as much as possible, and new traffic and pedestrian signage will indicate the appropriate detours.

Once this pipe replacement is complete, we will restore the roads and yards that were impacted by our work. As the work progresses, we will aim to complete intermediate paving and site restoration in each phase of construction. We will provide updates on timing of restoration as soon as possible. The entire project is anticipated to be complete by late summer.

We apologize for the inconvenience and will do our best to minimize impacts throughout the process. We plan to host a Community Construction Briefing on May 22nd at 5:30 PM near the work site on Beckley Drive to share an overview of the work and discuss impacts and ways to mitigate them where possible. We will provide updates here regularly. Thank you for your patience as we work through the repair. (Here is a link to the project area map.)

Update: May 7, 2019

We are evaluating 700 feet of wastewater pipe that runs under Highway 54 and along Raleigh Road. We aim to install a temporary bypass system under the road which will enable us to re-route wastewater away from this part of the pipe, so that we can access it directly for repair and replacement.

To do so, we need to close the sidewalk on the south side of Raleigh Road, from Environ Way to Hamilton Road (see map below). Based on what we currently know, we anticipate this additional repair could take two to three months. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause and will work to minimize disruptions. We will provide updates regularly and plan to host a Community Construction Briefing in the coming days.

Update: April 18 at 5:30 pm

We continue to work on the repair of the wastewater pipe on Rogerson Drive. We’ve inspected the full length of the pipe in the area of the break and discovered that the damage is more extensive than anticipated: 500 feet of the pipe is corroded. As a result, we must replace this entire section of the wastewater pipe. We anticipate this extended work will take approximately 4 weeks to complete. This will include excavating a trench within Rogerson Drive, removing the old pipe, and replacing it with a new, non-corrosive pipe.

Throughout the work, one westbound lane on Raleigh Road will remain closed as well as the adjoining sidewalk. Nearby Rogerson Drive will also remain closed to through traffic and pedestrian traffic (from Berkley Road to Raleigh Road). We apologize for the inconvenience this will cause and will work to minimize impacts as much as possible.

Update: April 16 at 2:30 pm

We continue to make progress on the repair of the wastewater pipe at Rogerson Dr near Raleigh Rd. We have successfully set up a temporary system to bypass the flow of wastewater around the area of pipe that is damaged. This bypass facilitates safe and reliable transit of wastewater through the system while we replace the section of pipe that was damaged (for a permanent repair). 

The far-right lane of westbound Raleigh Rd is closed, except between 6am and 9am on weekdays. The adjoining sidewalk is also closed. We anticipate normal traffic flow on Raleigh Rd will resume Saturday. Rogerson Dr will remain closed to through traffic and pedestrian traffic until after the line is repaired and the site restored (i.e. holes filled, pavement replaced). We apologize for any inconvenience.

Update: April 15 at 5:00 pm

Throughout the week, we will be replacing the wastewater pipe under Rogerson Drive. We are continuing to assess the condition of the pipe. Based on our assessment, we will determine how much pipe needs to be replaced this week, and if more needs to be replaced within the year. We will work 24 hours per day until the pipe is replaced. At times, the work may be noisy and we will have lights on-site at night. We aim to complete our overnight portions of the repair by Friday April 19.

While the pipe is under repair, the far-right lane of westbound Raleigh Road will be closed, except between 6am and 9am on weekdays. We will also close the adjoining sidewalk. We anticipate that normal traffic flow on Raleigh Road will resume by Saturday, April 20. Rogerson Drive will be closed to through traffic and pedestrian traffic until after the line is repaired and the site restored (i.e. holes filled, pavement replaced). We project that site restoration will be complete by April 26.

Update: April 14 at 8:30 pm

No overflows occurred Sunday. Together with our contractor, we have made progress setting up a temporary system to bypass the flow of wastewater around the area of pipe that is damaged. This bypass will facilitate safe and reliable transit of wastewater through the system, while enabling us to replace the section of pipe that was damaged (for a permanent repair). 

As we make the repairs, there will be traffic impacts. To minimize impacts during morning rush hour, from 6 am to 9 am, all 3 Westbound lanes on Raleigh Road will be open. After this time, one Westbound lane will be closed. All Eastbound traffic lanes will remain open as normal. We will provide regular updates on the progress of the repair.

Update: April 13 at 8:30 pm

Over the weekend, heavy rains increased the volume of water that entered the wastewater system. Between Friday evening and Saturday, three overflows occurred at the Rogerson Drive site, all of which are stopped. We estimate that approximately 760,000 gallons overflowed.

The majority of the overflow traveled downhill from the pipe into a wooded area where there are no residents. People and pets should avoid the area as sewer water can be contaminated. Some of it flowed into a nearby storm drain which enters Morgan Creek, a tributary into Jordan Lake in the Cape Fear River Basin.

We are investigating the pipe break and will share updates as they become available. Our team is working to repair the pipe. Many factors, including weather, can impact the repair schedule. We notified the Department of Environmental Quality about the overflow Friday evening and the Division is reviewing the matter.

There are no impacts on drinking water. OWASA’s drinking water and wastewater systems are not connected. The wastewater system also remains fully operational; residents can continue to flush toilets. Updates on the Rogerson Drive repair will be posted to owasa.org. For customer assistance, please call 919-968-4421.