Even though we are wrapping up Phase 2, it was not without its challenges. The act of installing new utilities side-by-side, sometimes across or through existing live services, was painstaking and, at times, surgical. There were moments where water or sanitary service had to be shut down temporarily to allow for this important work to be completed for the long-term gain of the district. Several buildings were affected multiple times and we are grateful for the competent work of our contractor and the patience and cooperation of the general public.

Due to the many unforeseen conditions that we had to manage this past fall, Vacri Construction will be required to come back sometime between January and March 2014 to complete the installation of the new telecommunications system below grade. The telecommunications system will establish a pathway for internet, TV and phone service providers to have access to each building on the Commons. This will enable private property owners, businesses and residents to have the ability to competitively shop for the service that best fits their needs.

The City has made a commitment to keeping the Commons free of construction activity during the Holiday season, and as such has suspended the activities of its contractor until after the New Year. However, due to the last minute availability of resources from NYSEG, the City is going to allow them to install new gas main on Bank Alley starting Monday, November 25. This work is expected to continue into the first week in December. Most of the work will take place within the construction area on Bank Alley, although there are three services that need to be brought into adjacent buildings, which will require temporary closings of the pedestrian walkways between the building and the construction area. We acknowledge that this is contradictory to the prior commitment to prohibit all construction activity during the winter furlough, but in the interests of maintaining the project on schedule, the City’s project management team felt that short term impacts were outweighed by the long term gain on the schedule.

The construction fence will remain in place throughout the winter and spring, so that if there is an opportunity to take advantage of a mild winter or to otherwise continue the work required to prepare the site for Phase 3.


Vacri Construction will be wrapping up its construction work this year on Wednesday, November 27, 2013. The work that was completed these past four months represents a 50+ year upgrade to the existing water, sanitary and storm sewer systems.

The construction fence in front of Center Ithaca has been relocated, and a large area has been paved with asphalt to allow for a generous public plaza, which will accommodate public events, such as the Holiday Festival on December 7 and the Ice Carving Competition on December 13-14. Please visit www.downtownithaca.com for details on these and other activities that the Downtown Ithaca Alliance has planned for the winter.

The week of November 25th, a saw cut line will be made along the north and south sides of the Commons. This line will be outside the construction fence, about 8 feet in front of each building. Pedestrians flow should not be disrupted during the saw cutting. The saw cutting is in preparation for work NYSEG will be doing in 2014.

Regarding Phase 3, the contract documents are in final development, with a bid package expected to be advertised in early December, followed by a contract award in January 2014. Work on Phase 3 is expected to begin in March 2014, weather-permitting.


The sanitary sewer work on the Commons is now complete. Thank you to everyone for cooperating with the project team by honoring the minimum flush rule, for eliminating other water activities, and for being patient with the changing schedule. It was definitely a community effort.

What’s next: Starting Friday, November 15th and continuing through the early part of the week of November 18th, a portion of the construction fence in front of Center Ithaca will be moved to create a large public plaza for the approaching holiday season. Asphalt will be poured for the public plaza in front of Center Ithaca as well as  all the areas outside the construction fence where the sidewalk was dug up

Pedestrians are encouraged to be patient and to be aware of work that occurs outside of the construction fence.

Storm laterals will continue to be connected to the storm mains that run down State Street and in Bank Alley. A storm manhole will be installed Friday, November 15, at the Tioga Street end of Bank Alley. Catch basins will also be installed on State Street and in Bank Alley through the end of November.

Vacri will clean up the construction site and wrap up by November 27th, 2013.

SANITARY SEWER WORK – November 12 & 13, 2013

Arold Construction, under sub-contract with the City of Ithaca, will be on the Commons Tuesday-Wednesday, November 12 & 13, 2013, to rehabilitate the sanitary sewer main serving the Commons. The lining of the existing sanitary main is called CIPP, cured-in-place-piping. A cured-in-place pipe is one of several trenchless rehabilitation methods used to repair existing pipelines. CIPP is a jointless, seamless, pipe-within-a-pipe with the capability to rehabilitate pipes.

Notices have gone out to all properties affected by this work:

 Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 8:00AM-1:00PM (Bank Alley)

·         102 N Tioga Street – 111 N Tioga Street

Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 11:00AM-6:00PM

·         101 E State Street – 128 E State Street

Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 8:00AM-3:00PM

·         142 E State Street – 224 E State Street

During this process the sanitary sewer service will be temporarily interrupted for up to eight (8) hours during the date and time specified for construction for the properties listed above.

We ask that the specific properties listed above minimize their water use and eliminate such activities as laundry, dishwashing and showers during the time specified for construction. Please keep toilet flushing to a minimum. Any sump pumps connected to the sewer system must be disconnected and/or discharged elsewhere to avoid backups in basements. The sanitary sewer will be temporarily interrupted and wastewater will not be able to exit buildings as it normally would.

Any questions please contact the Project Office at 607-216-8873 or Tammy Baker, Project Outreach Coordinator, at 607-220-8425.

We apologize for any inconvenience that the construction activities may cause you. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


The storm sewer work will begin on Monday, 11/4, rather than on Friday, 11/1 as originally planned. The change was due to the heavy rains on Thursday. A crew will begin installing the new storm sewer main and tie it into an existing manhole at the entrance of Center Ithaca. The sidewalk and front entrance to Center Ithaca will be blocked all day on Monday during this process but Center Ithaca will be OPEN. From the east, people can enter Center Ithaca through The Visitor Center or 15 STEPS and from the west through Art and Found or Alphabet Soup. The back entrance can also be accessed by going through Home Dairy Alley.

A second crew will begin installing the new storm sewer main on the west end near the intersection of State Street and Cayuga Street. The sidewalk on the east side of the intersection will be closed temporarily on Monday during this work.

The storm sewer main installation will then continue along State Street and in Bank Alley. As the installation of the storm sewer main crosses from Trolley Circle to Bank Alley, the east-west pedestrian crossing at Bank Alley and State Street will be closed for one day.

Signs will be posted to direct pedestrians whenever there is a change in the pedestrian flow.


The storm sewer work will begin on Friday, 11/1. This work needs to start at the lowest point of the storm sewer system which is in front of Center Ithaca. The sidewalk in front of Center Ithaca and the main entrance to Center Ithaca will be blocked on Friday to install a new storm sewer main which lies between Center Ithaca and Trolley Circle. Center Ithaca will be OPEN  and accessible.

From the east, people can enter Center Ithaca through The Ticket Center or 15 STEPS and from the west, through Art and Found or Alphabet Soup . The back entrance can also be accessed by going through Home Dairy Alley.

The week of November 4th the storm sewer work will continue inside the construction fence.


The parking lane and left driving lane of Seneca Street, near Tioga Street, will be affected  Wednesday, 10/30, and Thursday, 10/31, by construction work and drivers should seek alternative routes. The work will happen 7:00AM – 5:00PM each day.

The contractor will connect the recently installed new water main in Bank Alley to the water main that runs under Seneca Street.

Emergency access and access to businesses will be maintained


Water Update:
The new water main in Bank Alley running from Trolley Circle to the middle of Seneca Street has been installed and is now in service. On Wednesday this water main will be connected to the water main that runs down Seneca Street. The traffic on Seneca Street (near Tioga Place) will be diverted around the traffic cones during the excavation.

There are two buildings in Bank Alley that need to be connected to the new water main. On Monday, 10/28, the connection to the Tompkins Trust building will be made. This will happen outside the construction fence and to the south of the entrance to Tompkins Trust. Half of the west side of Bank Alley’s sidewalk will be closed to through pedestrian traffic for most of the day while the connection is being made. However, the Tompkins Trust entrance will be accessible throughout the day from the south. The water main connection for the other building will not affect pedestrian flow.

On State Street, there are four buildings remaining to be connected to the new water main. These connections must be made outside the construction fence. Work done outside the construction fence may result in temporarily constricted pedestrian traffic in some locations. Orange construction fence or yellow caution tape will be used to demarcate these areas.

Sanitary Update:

A sanitary lateral will be installed on Monday in front of Maté Factor. The east-west sidewalk will be closed to through traffic in front of the building. The front entrance and the Home Dairy Alley entrance will be accessible.


Today asphalt will be poured in areas where work occurred outside the construction fence. Orange cones and yellow construction tape will be used to demarcate these areas. The work started on the north side between Cayuga Street and Trolley Circle. Once complete the contractors will then move to the south side between Cayuga Street and Trolley Circle. Pedestrian traffic will be narrow in these areas but passable.

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Also, on the east end near Aurora Street, a sanitary manhole is being replaced. There will be a flag person to help direct pedestrian traffic in that area.

WEEK OF 10/21 – 10/25

On West State Street, one construction crew is working to connect individual buildings to the new water main. 75% of the connections are done with all connections on East State Street finished.

Some of connections to the new water main must be made outside the construction fence, resulting in temporarily constricted pedestrian traffic in some locations. Orange construction fence will be used to demarcate these areas. Intermittent closures of the north-south pedestrian crossings will continue to occur as construction vehicles move through the site.

A second crew is working to install the water main in Bank Alley. Once installed, the process of putting the main into service will begin, which takes about one week. Then the two water lateral connections between the new main and buildings in Bank Alley will be made.

Verizon will also be working in Bank Alley, encasing their cabling in PVC and concrete.

The last sanitary manhole will be replaced on the east end, near the Aurora Street entrance.

A reminder that soil compacting will continue throughout Phase2 and then again during Phase 3 next year. The compacting creates vibrations, which may be felt in buildings. The vibrations may be stronger when the work happens outside the construction fence, closer to buildings. We will do our best to inform individual merchants when this work will be happening.

If you want to receive notifications of new construction updates by email when they happen, click Follow on the bottom of the left column on http://www.ithacacommons.info.