Grace Street work to continue through Sept.

Published 3:22 pm Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Residents of Grace Street and its connectors can expect several more months of dodging traffic cones as Smithfield continues its replacement of the road’s water and sewer mains.

The project began in January and is expected to be completed by the end of September, according to the town’s website. The work entails upgrading the 6-inch water main on Thomas Street and the 4-inch main on Grace Street with 8-inch pipes capable of meeting modern flow requirements for fire hydrants. The existing Grace Street water main is thought to date to the early 1900s when Smithfield’s original municipal water system was installed.

The sewer mains spanning the North Church Street to James Street intersections, and along North Mason Street, were also experiencing frequent failures, and so the town decided to replace those as well.

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While the affected roads remain closed to through traffic, residents who live or work in the restricted areas are permitted to drive around the barriers, as are drivers making deliveries.

“But we ask you proceed with caution,” said Jack Reed, the town’s director of public works and utilities.

Installation of all sewer mains and laterals was completed on April 13, according to the town’s website. As of April 27, the new 8-inch water main had progressed from North Church Street up to the intersection of Grace and Institute streets.

The town-funded project is expected to cost about $1.2 million, which includes repairs to the streets and sidewalks damaged by the construction. The road itself is maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation and is slated for resurfacing soon, which is why town officials wanted to move forward with the project this year before that occurs.

Starting May 6, the block of Grace Street between James and Cary will be closed completely during working hours, the Town of Smithfield stated on its Facebook page Wednesday. Anyone needing access to James Street will need to come from Institute or Mason. This will last two to three days but only during working hours.