Raleigh looks to invest $1 billion+ in aging city pipes

(AJ Janavel/CBS North Carolina)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Raleigh officials say they are aware of the aging and failing infrastructure of some of the water, and sewer pipes throughout the area and are working to invest more than a billion dollars into fixing the problem.

In the last two days, two pipes have failed in the city.

Tuesday, a water pipe burst, closing Capital Boulevard. Wednesday, a sewer pipe burst, creating a sink hole on West Millbrook Road. Both incidents closed the roads.

Some people who live in the city were surprised to see a massive hole in the middle of the street.

“It’s a sinkhole in North Carolina, where we live and work. It’s kind of scary,” said Ebony Brown

“I can understand why citizens would be concerned about what going on, but realistically pipe failures happen all the time,” said Eileen Navarrete, a construction projects administrator with the city.

She says pipe bursts aren’t rare in Raleigh, and a lot is being done to fix the problem

“The city has made a significant effort to invest into replacing aging and deteriorating infrastructure over the last couple years,” said Navarrete.

Raleigh maintains about 4,800 miles of pipes, a total that includes surrounding jurisdictions including Garner, Knightdale, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell, and Zebulon.

Some of the pipes are decades old, others more than a century.

Navarrete says the city is researching problem spots throughout the thousands of miles of pipes and spending more than $1 billion over the next ten years to try to stay ahead of bursts.

“The goal is to hit the problem spots before they become major areas,” she said.

The city has replaced about 40 miles of pipes in the last three years. Next year’s budget proposes another 40 miles.

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