Construction for the long-anticipated public sewer project in the Vera Cruz area of Upper Milford Township started in mid-April and is progressing as planned this summer.
That’s the analysis of Capital Works Project Manager Lance Babbitt of the Lehigh County Authority.
Babbitt said the only hitch is that the general contractor, PACT Construction Inc. of New Ringoes, N.J., has hit some rock while drilling for the sewer installation. But Babbitt said he is optimistic that a change in equipment should help the contractor’s performance get back up to speed.
Properties affected by the project include 232 single-family homes, 15 multi-family residences and 14 commercial properties. Also, lateral sewer lines will be drilled for 12 of 19 vacant properties where future development is anticipated.
The project is divided up into three phases. The first phase is called Milestone One and involves predominantly single-family properties.
Drilling for the first phase on Vera Cruz Road is expected to be complete by early August.
Milestone Two will include some commercial properties and drilling will be done by early October. The second phase covers the crossroads of Vera Cruz and Main Road.
Drilling in Milestone Three, covering Main Road East to Limeport Pike, is expected to be done by the close of December.
However, Babbitt stressed that property owners will not connect to the new sewer line until they receive notice to do so, by registered mail from the Lehigh County Authority.
Babbitt said he expects that everyone will be connected to the new sewer line by early summer 2012. “That’s a guess,” he said, “my crystal ball.”
The conversion from septic to sewer originally would have cost the average single-family homeowner nearly $9,000. That estimate has since dropped to roughly $7,000, Babbitt said, because the Lehigh County Authority received a $1.5 million federal grant and a $1 million state grant.
Babbitt recalled that there has been talk of failing septic systems in Vera Cruz as far back as 1984, when he started working for the Lehigh County Authority.