Construction begins on water main upgrades in Hoboken

Fifteen blocks to undergo construction as the city combats aging water mains

Upgrading the city's water mains will involve construction over eight months.
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Upgrading the city's water mains will involve construction over eight months.

This week construction was scheduled to begin on the first phase of what will be 15 blocks of water main upgrades throughout Hoboken.

The eight locations totaling 7,035 linear feet represent some of the city’s oldest water mains, which could come as a relief to residents long plagued by water main breaks and flooding.

Pressure fluctuations, vibrations, and seasonal changes in temperature, which often cause the cast-iron pipes to become brittle, can cause breaks. Upgrades will include new water mains and service lines from the main to the curb, as well as road repaving, green infrastructure, and safety improvements related to Vision Zero, according to a press release from the city.

The first location to receive the overhaul will be a portion of Monroe Street between Eighth and 11th streets.

In July, the city entered into a new contract with the city’s water management provider,SUEZ, that aimed to facilitate upgrades and launch a new city-owned water utility.

Under this 15-year contract, the city receives $33 million in revenue to make system-wide infrastructure upgrades through 2034, with an average of $2.2 million in water investments per year. This $2.2 million is more than six times the amount of the previous contract, which provided only $350,000 per year in upgrades and repairs.

“My administration is committed to upgrading Hoboken’s infrastructure, and that starts with our aging water main system,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “These water main replacements are the start of our ambitious goal to independently replace over 14,000 feet, or 2.7 miles of our water main system over the next two years. This investment, along with the $33 million provided through the SUEZ contract, will replace 18 percent of our entire water system by 2034. As a part of the project, we’re also including pedestrian safety upgrades, as well as reducing rainfall flooding with green infrastructure. Together, these upgrades address major quality of life issues for the residents of Hoboken.”

Construction schedule

The project, funded with low-interest loans through the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (I-Bank), will take approximately eight months and will be done in portions.

To accommodate construction, road closures will be in effect.

According to the city, this is just Phase I of the project. Water main replacements will take place this spring and winter. The safety upgrades, green infrastructure, and paving will occur in the spring.

The street safety improvements include high-visibility crosswalks, ADA-compliant crosswalk ramps, enhanced bicycle lanes, painted curb extensions, and intersection daylighting.

These upgrades are part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative to make streets safer for all users and eliminate traffic-related deaths and injuries by 2030. The initiative’s task force launched last month will create an action plan with steps the city could take to improve the safety of city streets.

Green infrastructure such as storm water retention structures will be installed at four locations to absorb rainwater and curtail flooding.

This fall, construction will begin with Monroe Street between Eighth and 11th streets followed by Garden Street between Observer Highway and Second Street. At the end of fall, beginning of winter, Bloomfield Street will undergo construction between Second and Fourth streets.

This winter, there will be construction on Garden Street between Third and Fifth streets, followed by Jefferson Street between Eighth and Ninth streets, and Jefferson Street between 10th and 11th streets.

At the end of winter and beginning of spring, construction will take place on Monroe Street between Third and Fourth streets followed by construction on Garden Street between 12th and 14th streets in spring.

Completed is expected by spring 2020.

For more information on the first phase of the water main replacement project, visit https://www.hobokennj.gov/resources/drinking-water-infrastructure-upgrades-phase-1

For updates on this and other stories keep checking www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.