Construction Report: Gillam Way's wooden sewer lines being replaced

FAIRBANKS., Alaska As part of the Gillam Way's construction project, DOT says water and sewer pipes that are 50 to 60 years old are being replaced.

As part of the Gillam Way's construction project, DOT says water and sewer pipes that are 50 to 60 years old are being replaced. (Andrew Hawkins/KTVF)

The Department of Transportation has been working on Gillam Way. Multiple intersections will be closed during the project including 17th Avenue, which is currently blocked off. DOT will be increasing pedestrian safety by fixing sidewalks and road shoulders. Another large part of the project is replacing sewer and water lines.

According to DOT Spokesperson Caitlin Frye, the lines in the area are 50 to 60 years old. Some of the sewer lines, specifically, are still made of wood. Currently, crews are replacing connections for water pipes on 17th Avenue.

"There's a pretty deep hole that needs to be dug for this part of the project," said Caitlin Frye. "They have to leave that hole open for a while to do some cleaning and testing of the pipes before they can fill it all back in. We do expect 17th will be closed for the rest of this week."

A detour is in place that has people taking 22nd Avenue to Cowels Street. Frye suggests using this detour as an alternate route to reach the hospital.

There will be brief water and sewer service interruptions in the area while the new infrastructure is tied in. DOT says they are working with businesses and residents to make the project as minimally impactful as possible.

"We sincerely and genuinely appreciate the patience of the folks who live on this street," stated Frye. "We now it's hard. We do really hope the safety and mobility improvements in the project corridor, will have long term and lasting benefits for everyone in the neighborhood."

When the new infrastructure is in place, water pressure in the area will be increased. This is good news for the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, which has been dealing with water pressure issues for years, especially on its upper floors.

The entire Gillam project is expected to take the rest of the construction season. Frye says they are planning on finishing the 17th Avenue intersection before the start of school.