Sewer repairs close Flat Branch Trail connector

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COLUMBIA – Residents who commute on their bike are changing their route as crews continue the Flat Branch Sewer Relief Project Wednesday morning. The Grass Land Park connector will close as part of the sewer updates. 

Columbia is currently home to sewage pipes between 40 and 60 years old located near the Flat Branch Trail area. Officials worry cracks and leaks in the pipes, if not fixed, could soon cause backed up sewage to enter homes in the surrounding area. 

Ted Curtis, the Bike/Ped Program Manager for the City of Columbia, said the work is a necessity.

“I think it is going to be a real big inconvenience but the work has to be done, so the work has to be done. They have to cut through the trail so I hope they can keep it to a minimum and I hope that it doesn’t interfere with people’s work,” Curtis said.

Sewage crews have been working on other pipes around the connector and said they have been working quickly to maintain the out of date sewage lines. Crews are replacing the old pipes by inserting a new PVC lining and then using steam to expand the PVC to form a tight seal around the inside of the older pipes.

Sarah May, a Columbia resident and frequent trail user, said she understands the city needs protect residents from long term problems.

“I know the sewers are a big problem in Columbia so it is good the city is working to prevent people in town from having their homes damaged," she said. “I think the trails around here are really well taken care of so I hope they can get this done so I can get back on this part of the trail."

Officials say the trail will be reopened on Sept. 19, but that date could change based on weather conditions and how fast crews can complete the work.