Thursday, April 28, 2016
Why are people wearing hazmat suits on this Bethesda road?
I asked the Maryland State Highway Administration, which has jurisdiction over the road that runs from Wisconsin Avenue to Poolesville.
Carol Rainey, an SHA utility inspector, says a WSSC subcontractor is making pipe repairs within the 60" and 66" prestressed concrete cylinder pipe water mains along the busy commuter route. You may recall a catastrophic failure of one of these mains a few years ago further west.
The repairs involve carbon fiber, which is a standard material for restoring and strengthening pipes. Rainey says the epoxy used with the carbon fiber requires the workers to wear the Tyvek white coveralls and respirators.
Those hoses? They provide air, ventilation and heat during the curing process for the carbon fiber. I noticed that the contractor, Structural Preservations, was staging the project out of the SHA property between Pyle Road and Winston Drive on the eastbound side of the road.
So, nothing to worry about, and hopefully this will prevent another disastrous pipe failure along River Road before it can happen.