PEPPER PIKE — Brainard Circle could be open to traffic by the first week for February, according to City Engineer Don Sheehy. There may be an end in sight as Dominion Energy and its subcontractors complete repairs on the gas line and related infrastructure.
The 30-inch gas main running underneath Brainard Circle exploded on Nov. 15, causing a gaping hole in the road and a fire 80 feet high and 80 feet wide. The road and surrounding infrastructure and greenery were damaged but there were no injuries.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio announced an investigation into the cause of the explosion, which occurred along a newly installed portion of the gas line. A preliminary report from Dec. 12 indicated that a “girth weld failure” may have been the cause, noting other potential violations of the Gas Pipeline Safety Code, according to the commission.
“We’re hoping that the first week of February, we’ll be taking the [traffic] barriers out,” Mr. Sheehy said at the council meeting on Jan. 15.
He said that Dominion completed the gas main work, but the storm culvert must be repaired. Nearby, there is a stream that also runs through Brainard Circle. Underneath the circle, however, the stream runs in a pipe, known as a culvert, Mr. Sheehy said.
He explained that there is a concrete box with reinforced steel below the road. The box itself has a hole on each side for the water to run through and it is 100 feet long, 7 feet high and 10 feet wide. The top of the box is 7 feet below the roadway, and the bottom is 14 feet below the road, he said. Construction crews pour concrete around the top, bottom and sides of the steel cage, according to Mr. Sheehy.
For other work on the water main, the contractor is coordinating with the Cleveland Division of Water, which operates the water main, Mr. Sheehy said.
“Virtually, all the work is underground,” he explained. “We were out there yesterday (Jan. 14) and there were about a dozen people you couldn’t see.”
Councilman Jim LeMay asked where the water is now while the contractors are rebuilding the culvert below the circle. Mr. Sheehy said that the contractors are maintaining the water flow around where they are working.
Mayor Richard Bain said that he spoke with a representative from Dominion Energy who expressed the company’s commitment to restoring the circle to its prior beauty.
“He [gave] reaffirmation that when the street is completed, they’re not completed,” he said. “They’re going to be with us for the distance to re-establish the greenery and the trees.”
In other news, Judge K.J. Montgomery of the Shaker Heights Municipal Court swore in Mayor Bain, Mr. LeMay and Councilmen Tony Gentile and Manohar Daga for another four-year term. The three councilmen and the mayor each ran unopposed in the fall 2019 election.