Water Work Rattles Scranton Neighborhood

SCRANTON -- A big drill--about the size of a box truck--is parked in south Scranton's Dutch Hollow neighborhood. It's been working its way under Interstate 81 to make way for a new water main.

People who live in Dutch Hollow are used to the sounds from the highway, but they say the drilling gives off a sound you can feel.

"If you go closer, it's a whole different story, seriously, you'll have stuff rattling in the cupboards," Carol Wasalinko said.

Carol Wasalinko and Bob Sheridan both live on the 800 block of Meadow Avenue. For the past couple of weeks, crews hired by Pennsylvania American Water have been working on the 700 block, and expect to be for the next month. They say the project came as a surprise that's tied up parking and disturbed the peace in their neighborhood.

"We need them to let us know what they're doing," said Bob Sheridan. "We know that progress has to go through. We understand that. Just think about the families around them."

Pennsylvania American Water says drilling under I-81 is the beginning, and the most intensive part, of a larger project throughout the city's south side.

"We've made some accommodations to some of the neighbors in the area so they can have parking access, access their driveways. We realize that this is an inconvenience, but we do ask for their patience and cooperation because this is only something that is going to improve their service," said Pennsylvania American Water official Susan Turcmanovich.

Back in 2014, there was a water main break that knocked out water for thousands of customers in south Scranton for about a week's time. Pennsylvania American Water says this project will prevent that from happening again.

"This is going to be a redundant line so that, not only, should there be another issue on that main, but also we can do maintenance on that main, and we won't affect any customers," Turcmanovich explained.

There will be an effect in the short term. Crews will move on from Dutch Hollow in a few weeks, but work to install the entire main should last through the summer and cost about $4 million.

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