SAK gets green light for bridge improvements in Frederick, MD.

Frederick City Notes: What’s next for the South Market Street facades

The city’s Historic Preservation Commission is set to meet on Jan. 14. But its agenda won’t look like the one planned.

Its agenda was supposed to include a series of four approvals related to the apartment complex planned for 56 and 58-70 S. Market St., where some old brick facades now stand — but no building remains behind them.

That was before property owner Tarek Aly decided to pull the plug on his project. His decision, reported in The Frederick News-Post last month, came the day after the commission voted to designate one of the two freestanding brick facades as a contributing resource to the Frederick Town Historic District, with the intent to have Aly incorporate the facade into his new building, if possible.

Aly previously applied for and received commission approval for demolition of the facades, as well as rehabilitation of the roofless building next door, plus his first-level site plans. Those approvals were granted in 2012, but they have since expired, forcing him to reapply.

The four hearings scheduled for Jan. 14 included some re-approvals and some new ones for Aly’s project. All are now on hold until July 2016, according to the meeting agenda posted to the city website.

As for Aly, he said on Friday his plans are on hold indefinitely until he and the other members of Suitland Road LLC, the business entity that owns 56 and 58-70 S. Market St., can decide on next steps. Those steps may happen in July, or sooner, or later, he said.

For now, he’s “taking some time, as much as it takes.”

Stay tuned.

Faster repairs and fewer dug-up streets

Technological advances are paving the way for faster improvements and fewer traffic delays as Frederick upgrades its underground infrastructure.

The city mayor and Board of Aldermen approved two contracts for projects related to sewer mains and bridge repairs, respectively, each of which will make use of trenchless technology.

The $1.4 million contract and corresponding $1.5 million purchase order to Am-Liner East will continue city efforts to reduce and eliminate inflow and infiltration from reaching its wastewater treatment plant, according to the report submitted by Chip Stitley, sewer collection superintendent.

Inflow comes from illegal sewer taps that direct groundwater from downspouts, sump pumps and other sources into the sewer mains. Infiltration is groundwater that seeps into sewer pipes through defects in the pipe systems. These additional flows make the wastewater treatment plant work harder on waters that don’t need treatment. Reducing inflow and infiltration lowers costs for the city.

The work will save the city money in the long-run by reducing the cost of treating sewage at the plant, currently about $2.14 per 1,000 gallons, according to the report. It will also help eliminate overflows, Stitley said on Thursday.

Sewage treatment may not be the sexiest topic, but the way trenchless technology eases the upgrade work is pretty cool.

It allows for upgrades and replacement of entire sewer pipes without tearing apart the roads above them at all. Instead, an expandable sleeve is inserted into the existing, leaky pipes, preventing future leakages with no above-ground digging needed.

It’s low impact, and fast. Stitley said an entire city block of pipes can be rehabbed in a few hours, as opposed to the weeks or even months it would take to replace the pipes through old-fashioned digging.

The city contract piggybacks on the contract awarded to Am-Liner in Howard County. The difference between the contract and purchase order amounts allows the project manager to address any manhole rehabilitation or excavation issues that occur during the work, according to the report.

Am-Liner bills itself as the leader in pipe rehabilitation using trenchless technology, according to its website.

City elected officials also greenlighted a $500,000 contract to SAK Construction LLC to use trenchless technology for improvements to a bridge off of Dogwood Drive. This will be the first time the city uses trenchless technology to repair one of its bridges, according to Mike Winpigler, the city street maintenance superintendent.