Emergency construction project in Durham infuriates businesses, drivers

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Businesses and motorists alike are frustrated by the impromptu construction on Main Street (WTVD)

Concrete is in a sewer line in downtown Durham and city workers are trying to figure out how it got there.

ABC11 got a tip about concrete clogging the pipe and causing the sewage problem; we checked it out and it's true.

The 100 block of W. Main St. is closed between Corcoran Street and Mangum Street as a contractor digs up and replaces a 150-foot stretch of 8-inch sewage main.

Andy Brogden, Durham's Water and Sewer Superintendent said the replacement project could cost up to $300,000, but who pays for it is yet to be seen.

"At this point, we haven't been able to determine where the concrete came from," he said. "We are trying to figure out the location or origination of it. However, our main focus at this time is to ensure that our customers have continuity of service."

While Brogden couldn't say who or what was to blame for the concrete deposit, he said it stretched from the intersection of Corcoran and W. Main, where construction for the new high-rise luxury condo building One City Center is already underway, halfway up the block toward Mangum Street.

Brogden said water and sewage service has not been interrupted during the emergency construction.

For now though, the owner of Gurley's Pharmacy said the road closure has been the biggest burden.

"It makes me sick," said Vip Patel. "I mean it's like, the last thing I want is difficulty for my patients to actually come in to the pharmacy."

Patel said patients, many of whom are disabled, have been complaining for the last week about having to walk a block and a half to pick up their prescriptions.

"Think about the senior citizens that have to come here," said Redell Harris, who typically parks outside the front door to Gurley's to get his medication. "That's the bad part. I can make it. But how about those old people that can't get here?"

"Sometimes they'll get discouraged," Patel said. "They'll call us up and say hey can you deliver the medication? That's expenses on our part as well."

Patel said staff with the One City Center project sent him an email on April 1, notifying him that the city closed the road to fix the broken sewer line and that the cause of the failed sewer line has not yet been determined.

Brogden said the stretch of W. Main will stay closed for another week.

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