Water Main Project Behind Schedule

overheadKyle Terwillegar After initially announcing that a water main project in Cooper Square would be finished by the winter, city officials now say it won’t be completed until spring 2012 at the earliest.

If you’ve walked around Cooper Square for the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen how it’s been turned into a labyrinth of construction barricades and detoured traffic due to the replacement of water mains in the area.

Well, the excavation overtaking much of the intersection of the Bowery and Fourth Avenue will not be finished anytime soon. After originally announcing that the project would be finished this winter, officials now say that the work won’t be completed until spring 2012 at the earliest.

Ray Martin, the operating engineer at the site, which stretches from Cooper Square to East Fourth Street, said on Thursday that the work wouldn’t be finished until summer of next year.

“The timeline changes all the time, there’s a lot of utilities in the ground,” Martin said.

A spokesman for the Department of Design and Construction, Craig Chin, took a more optimistic view, saying that work could be completed by spring 2012. But he did not dispute that the $10.8 million job, which involves replacing antiquated water mains up to Astor Place, is a tough one.

“If you look at the open trench, it’s a tangled web of wires,” Mr. Chin said. “Things have to be moved from one side to the other so they can put in water mains. It’s a painstaking process.”

Kyle Terwillegar contributed information to this post.