Neighbors pay the price for pricey MSD alley - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Neighbors pay the price for pricey MSD alley

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Residents have spray painted a message on this metal plate for MSD Residents have spray painted a message on this metal plate for MSD

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - More than half a million dollars spent in alleys sounds expensive, but the Metropolitan Sewer District believes it's a smart investment. Some neighbors don't agree. They called the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Department after one of the projects led to months of headaches and I went to MSD to get answers and results.

Judy Sweeney said latest project by MSD hit her like a ton of bricks.

"When they come speeding through it makes quite a racquet," Sweeney said.

Sweeney is bothered by the sound cars make when they drive over metal plates MSD used to cover holes in a new alley that runs behind Highland Avenue in the Highlands.

"You just hear this big thump, thump," Sweeney said.

Now, frustration from neighbors is spilling onto the streets. Someone even left a message for MSD spray painted on those metal plates.

"Fix me," Sweeney read. "So obviously that needs to be done."

MSD first fixed the alley behind Jefferson County Traditional Middle School last summer by tearing up the pavement and replacing it with brick at a cost of $143,000. MSD said the reason they spent all that money is to improve the drainage because creases in between the bricks lets rain water seep into the ground so it doesn't over run the sewers.

MSD is so big on the idea it spent more than $589,000 making similar improvements to a half dozen alleys around the city. But not long after laying the ground work behind Sweeney's home MSD came back and tore it up.

"We had some early settlement problems in this alley," said Steve Emly, interim chief engineer for MSD.

According to Emly, the brick pavers were basically sinking into the ground. The reason is that MSD built the alley over existing sewer lines. It turned out some areas weren't strong enough to support the brick. But Emly said that was part of the learning process. While MSD dug up the trouble spots right away, they had to wait for school to let out to finish the repair, which left neighbors to deal with the patchwork solution for months.

"It looks like they put a band aid on it and given up on it," Sweeney said.

MSD said the project was delayed even more when someone came in and stole the replacement brick pavers right off the worksite.

Fed up with the mess, Sweeney's husband called the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Department. Just days after I started asking questions, MSD returned to complete the work.

MSD spokesman Steve Tedder said the timing was coincidental, and Emly can't promise repair crews won't be back. When asked if this was a problem that could continue to pop up here, Emly said, "It could."

Emly told us his hope is that the cost of installing brick alley's is less than the price MSD pay's for poor drainage, removing raw sewage discharged into creeks and streams when sewer lines overflow. MSD is measuring how much the new alleys help drainage and comparing it to cost of installing and maintaining the brick to figure out if it's worth it.

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