Kingston residents voiced their frustration Wednesday night during a briefing on plans to resume infrastructure work along Front Road and King Street.
Several residents attended the information session hosted by Utilities Kingston at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, eager to learn when a massive multi-year sewage expansion project, halted last year, will resume.
However, Utilities Kingston was unable to give a timeline for when the project may resume as it is currently in the midst of a dispute-resolution process with the project’s contractor, EBC Inc.
“There’s a bit of frustration because six months has elapsed since the last meeting and they really haven’t said anything new,” says Roger Healey, a Kingston resident who attended the meeting.
Utilities Kingston began the combined project over two years ago to improve water and sewer infrastructure in the Portsmouth Area. It involves laying extensive underground piping to redirect sewage flows from Portsmouth Village east ending at the Ravensview waste water treatment plant, to the much closer Cataraqui Bay plant. The redirect would prevent sewage overflows as the central and eastern areas of Kingston continue to see increased growth. At the same time, Utilities Kingston will connect the Point Pleasant Water treatment plant to the Central Water distribution system.
“The pipes that we need to connect both the water treatment plants and both the sewage treatment plants essentially run along the same route, so we designed it. It’s much more cost-effective and efficient to dig up the road once and put both sets of pipes in at the same time,” president and CEO of Utilities Kingston, David Fell, explains.
However, the combined project was halted last year when EBC Inc. encountered unexpected site conditions and contract disputes with Utilities Kingston began.
“Since the last public meeting that we had last fall we did enter a dispute resolution process and we’re moving along through that,” Fell says.
With nothing getting done until the dispute is resolved, many at the meeting voiced their displeasure.
“My purpose was to get a timeline and the timeline is there is no timeline,” Roxann Reid, attendee at the meeting, says.
While the dispute is ongoing, it’s unclear if there will be any work resumed this year, adding to an already lengthy project.