By John Burton
MIDDLETOWN – The project that has contributed to snarling some West Front Street traffic since the winter months is slated for completion sometime in July.
New Jersey American Water has been working since Feb. 17 in the area of West Front Street, approximately between Half Mile Road and Middletown-Lincroft Road, replacing seriously aging water main pipes.
Motorists have been detoured around the stretch of roadway since the construction began.
The $9 million project is replacing two aging water mains and installing approximately 9,000 linear feet of 30-inch and 9,000 feet of 12-inch pipe running parallel, according to Richard Barnes, external affairs manager for New Jersey American Water and information provided by the company.
“A lot of this infrastructure was put in place from the early 1900s to the 1950s, so it’s coming to the end of its useful life,” he said.
The old pipes will be replaced with ductile iron ones, which will enhance water quality and improved service reliability, according to the company.
The water company contracted with Pioneer Pipe Contractors, Inc., headquartered in Pittman. The project is being done in four phases, involving connecting the new to existing pipes between defined streets, Barnes said in an email.
This pipeline will serve about 25,000 of the company’s customers.
The company has been keeping area residents informed of the project’s progress with mailings detailing the work, Barnes said.
In addition to the five-month closure of the portion of West Front Street, temporary traffic disruptions have occurred on nearby streets and will continue to until the project’s completion. Township police have been directing detours and street closures, Barnes said.
“We’ve had less problems than anticipated,” said Sgt. Doug Wiatrak of Middletown Police Department’s Traffic Safety Division.
“It’s been a day-to-day thing,” requiring police to close different streets for short periods and channel traffic through different detours with other projects in the area compounding the situation, Wiatrak said.
New Jersey American Water has about 9,000 miles of pipe in New Jersey.