By Ann Marie Shambaugh
Less than a year ago, Carmel officials gathered to celebrate the completion of a trail along 106th Street that stretches from Fishers on the east to Zionsville on the west, minus a missing link through Home Place, which is not within city limits.
But now, much of that path has been torn up as construction crews work to install a 3.5-mile 20-inch sewer line along 106th Street from Ditch Road west to handle the population growth in west Carmel and east Zionsville. The upgrade is a Clay Township Regional Waste District project, and it will pay to replace all of the trail that it destroys, approximately 1,400 feet.
Wes Merkle, CTRWD engineering manager, said that crews are using directional drilling to install about a third of the project, a method that involves tunneling underground and pulling the pipe through. Open cut installation, or digging a trench along the project area, is the more traditional method for placing new pipes.
“(Directional drilling is) a lot more expensive, especially with this size of pipe,” Merkle said. “It’s roughly three times the cost to do directional drilling.”
The $5.8 million project began in late winter and is expected to wrap up by the end of August, although some work is expected to go beyond that near Ditch Road. Approximately 1.5 percent of the total project cost will go toward repairing pathways, Merkle said.
The new pipes are a forced main line that will send wastewater from lift stations at Spring Mill Road and 106th Street and Ditch Road south of 106th Street to the treatment plant on Mayflower Park Drive in Zionsville. Residents shouldn’t notice much of a change once the project is complete, as it is designed to handle population growth expected to come to the area in the future.
“There’s a whole lot of crews working right now,” Merkle said. “We just ask that folks driving through be patient with us as we get through the remaining pipe installation and drive carefully.”
Road closures are not expected, although some lanes may be shut down. The nearby intersection of 116th Street and Towne Road recently closed for roundabout construction, but City of Carmel officials said drivers have many other options available in the area.
“We really feel like 99 percent of the rest of the west part of Carmel is open and available to route around,” Carmel Engineering Administrator Josh Kirsh said.