Water, Water, Everywhere…

Residents of the South Hills City neighborhood of Beechview have been dealing with a headache since mid-April when an 18 inch water main broke and sent the overflow onto the main thoroughfare, Banksville Road. Word came this week that the break will affect traffic through mid-June. This came not long after a water main break (of the 8 inch variety) on nearby Pioneer Avenue, which affected the high volume West Liberty Avenue.

Infrastructure-like water and sewer lines, roads, bridges, public buildings-crumbles; there is no denying the fact (the point person on the Beechview water line break noted "We put a lot of pipe in, just like we did with roads and bridges, about 100 years ago. Now it’s all reaching the end of its lifespan") and the impact that heavy use places upon it.

But we are reminded of the comments made by the past chairman of the region’s premiere organization aimed at "growing the region" who said in 2007 that "our roads, our infrastructure couldn’t handle a 15 percent growth rate. We couldn’t handle a 10 percent growth rate". So the region continues to experience slow to minimal growth and the impact of crumbling infrastructure.

The problem with minimal growth is that when the ever-important infrastructure begins to crumble there are fewer people around to shoulder the cost through their taxes, user fees, and/or rates than before. Not good news for a region that is expected to deal with stormwater/sewage issues, road upgrades, and a broke mass transit agency on top of the other desires of area governments and school districts.