PWD releases preliminary design plans for Fountain St. Steps

Last week, the Philadelphia Water Department released conceptual designs for updates on the Fountain Street Steps in Manayunk.

After several heavy storms, the concrete and cobblestone around the steps were damaged from the accumulation of stormwater in nearby manholes that popped open.

Joanne Dahme, PWD spokesperson, said that the new design has a primary focus on the manholes, which will be bolted down to ensure they won’t cause more damage. 

“We are doing a combination of infrastructure improvement in the pipe itself, mostly around those manholes making sure that manhole covers cannot be dislodged as easily, but also looking to fortify stairs so they can better handle stormwater runoffs that run down; that causes consistent erosion,” said Dahme.

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The preliminary designs detail installation of new masonry walls, restored cobblestone embankments and vegetative planter beds and planting areas, which will capture some of the stormwater that jumps the curb.

“We are hoping, with the stormwater management improvements that we are putting in, that there is also landscape improvements so it helps stabilize that area,” said Dahme.

Because this project will highly impact the community, the PWD is working with community organizations such as the Friends of Fountain Street Steps and The Schuylkill Project. The groups are still looking at the designs and will assist in the final project design.

Construction is expected to begin after fall and, depending on the weather, will take up to two months.

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