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Utility Improvements to Begin on Columbia Street

UTICA, N.Y. – Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) will begin making infrastructure improvements underneath Columbia Street on Monday, December 16, 2019, in order to improve the infrastructure and increase capacity for the new regional medical center and surrounding areas. These improvements will require Columbia Street to close from Broadway to State Street beginning on Monday and well into the next year until the infrastructure improvements are completed. Surrounding streets such as Lafayette Street, State Street, Broadway and Court Street will remain open while the infrastructure work is being done.

“MVHS and the City of Utica are working diligently to ensure the regional healthcare campus becomes the best it can possibly be for the residents of the Greater Utica area,” Utica Mayor Robert M. Palmieri said. “We want to make sure that we attract young professionals, that we have quality healthcare and that we maximize the opportunity to build a facility that enhances our City as a whole. Part of those conversations has always been infrastructure and I’m pleased that MVHS has stepped-up to address this critical component of the project.”

The sanitary sewer, storm sewer and water utilities, which are owned by the City of Utica and the Mohawk Valley Water Authority, are being replaced and relocated. The electric and the natural gas infrastructure, operated and maintained by National Grid, are also being replaced and re-routed.

“These improvements to the water, storm sewer and sanitary sewer infrastructure will replace the existing, antiquated arrangement with new infrastructure that is designed and constructed to be more efficient,” said Robert Scholefield, MS, RN, executive vice president/COO for MVHS. “The improvements will also result in a positive impact to the environment, because newly constructed infrastructure will result in less potable (drinkable) water loss due to leaks, less infiltration of ground water into sanitary sewers and less exfiltration of sewage that can find its way into storm sewers and ultimately the Mohawk River. The improved infrastructure will also be better able to serve surrounding and future development.

“As we continue to make progress on this transformative project, there will be an on-going effort to communicate any and all changes with the community our partners to ensure transparency.”

A few examples of the infrastructure changes that will occur are:

  • Replacing storm sewers that will increase capacity for moving and storing water. Approximately 1,500 feet of 42-inch diameter storm sewer construction will occur under Columbia Street from Cornelia Street to State Street, then under State Street from Columbia Street to the north side of Oriskany Street. In addition to increasing capacity, this work is a structural improvement that will replace sewers that are in sub-standard condition.
  • Adding a new storm sewer under Lafayette Street to provide a discharge point for the new medical center roof drains. This work will increase the size of the existing line, improving water flow and storage.
  • Replacing and increasing the size of sanitary sewers (that remove waste), which will improve water flow and storage. Approximately 600 feet of 24-inch diameter sanitary sewer construction will take place under Columbia Street from Cornelia Street to Broadway.
  • Constructing new water mains to replace sections of the 100 year-old mains which are known to have failures without warning. New water mains, ranging from 8-inch to 16-inch in diameter, will be constructed around the site under State Street, Columbia Street, Broadway and potentially Oriskany Street. The new water mains are required to provide new, more reliable infrastructure for the facility.
  • Upgrades to provide a more modern, safer electrical system. This involves removing the subsurface electrical system and reconfiguring to a modern duct-bank system, wholly owned by National Grid. This includes the replacement of outdated and dangerous electrical vaults.

MVHS is investing more than $22 million to make all of these infrastructure upgrades. The upgrades will NOT be funded by the taxpayers.

NOTE: More details about the infrastructure upgrades and other information about the new MVHS regional medical center project are available in the Environmental Impact Statements available on the City of Utica’s website.


Media Contact: 
Caitlin McCann
VP, Communications and Marketing