BY KEVIN BONESKE
Rhinelander’s Streetscape construction is now in the process of upgrading utilities in the downtown area while at the same time uncovering the city’s past with the digging underway.
The $9.7 million project includes separating the existing sanitary and storm water sewers and upgrading both systems in the downtown area to eliminate the potential for sanitary sewer backups and also help prevent the bypass of raw sewage in the Wisconsin River.
Downtown businesses will remain open during the construction with the city’s goal to have functional streets by this fall and the final paving to take place next spring.
Public Works director Tim Kingman said boulders removed from the city’s streets have been stockpiled along Young Street near Trig’s.
“While we’re constructing the pipeline underneath, deep, we have to get around these
He said old piping being removed from underground has been stored at the corner of Alban and Phillip Street.
In contrast to the latest in construction materials being used for utility installation, Kingman said sections of wooden conduit used to encase telephone and other communication lines is being uncovered and replaced.
“This has been in the ground for over 50 years, I would suspect,” he said. “It’s wood manufactured, and it’s highly tooled wood, where you wouldn’t be able to get something like this today.
“It’s been very good and durable, and served its purpose for a lot of years. However, now it’s time to move on to modern times, and they have replaced this material with new and other good things, where it’s going to last for another 100 years, hopefully.”
Kingman said the wood conduit that was used came in pieces of from 8-10 feet that connect to each other.
“They’re very interesting and probably locally made,” said Kingman, who also noted the wood has been treated to prevent it from rotting.
“It looks like an old Lego,” quipped city administrator Kristina Aschenbrenner.
In addition to the construction work uncovering old infrastructure that is being replaced, Kingman said the digging is also bringing up other items, such as an intact glass bottle believed to date back to the 1920s-30s and pieces of granite being blasted off from the bedrock.