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Sewer, wire work ties up traffic on Bell Boulevard

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In June the city Department of Environmental Protection conducted emergency sewer work on the block between 42nd and 43rd avenues, tying up one lane of the road for more than three weeks. More recently utility Con Edison has been replacing wires running under the boulevard near 41st Avenue and an explosion in front of Bourbon Street restaurant, allegedly caused by a malfunctioning transformer connector, rocked the street two weeks ago. Last week electrical wires smoking in the basement of the new Dunkin' Donuts on the same block drew both firefighters and Con Edison workers.Now the DEP and the city Department of Design and Construction are back to replace more of the sewer pipes underneath Bell Boulevard between 41st and 42nd avenues, a project that was expected to take a couple of weeks, according to Department of Design and Construction spokesman John Spavins.All this means that driving along Bell Boulevard lately has been an exercise in weaving around construction equipment and dump trucks. The road is open to two-way traffic, but vehicles must navigate around a large blocklong dig in the center of the street."We're doing approximately 150 feet of sewer trench restoration," Spavins said of the latest construction work, which started Monday. "The underpinning of the sewer becomes depressed and to restore the trench ... requires opening the street and resurfacing when it's done.""It's part of a various locations, boroughwide contract. The total work there will take one to two weeks, weather dependent, including resurfacing" the road, Spavins said. He pointed out that this was the only part of the sewer project slated for Bell Boulevard.Meanwhile, the ongoing Con Edison work will halt during the daytime and resume in the afternoon, a construction worker said at the site."We're going to be replacing cable between 40th and 41st Street," said Art Cronson, a Con Edison spokesman. "We try to pull the cable out and sometimes it gets stuck, so we have to dig."While he said the work was projected to last only a couple of days and no lanes would be blocked, driving along Bell Boulevard might remain an arduous task.Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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