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Since You Asked: Sixth Street in downtown Medford is a construction zone

I tried to turn down Sixth Street near the Mail Tribune the other day and saw huge holes in the ground. The street was blocked off around the railroad tracks and workers were placing these massive pipes in the holes. It looks like a big project. What’s going on?

— Matt D., Medford

It is a big project, Matt. In fact, it’s a $1.5 million project that started in April by Central Pipeline and is expected to conclude in June.

A leaking storm drain line is being replaced from Ivy Street to Front Street. In addition, an aging sewer line under the railroad tracks is being replaced.

“This project is a prime example of doing work earlier to keep up with maintenance,” Public Works Director Cory Crebbin said.

If maintenance had been done earlier on the pipes, it would have prevented digging up the streets and reduced the cost of fixing the pipes, he said. However, the city set aside only a limited amount of money to deal with these upgrades in the past.

Public Works now has an active campaign and budget to maintain the existing sewer and storm drain pipes.

Throughout the city, Crebbin said, plastic sleeves are being put in older pipes that will keep them going for many more decades. The amount of digging to install the plastic sleeves is minimal compared to the work on Sixth Street.

Crebbin cautioned motorists to be careful around construction zones.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.