Water pipe installation construction on Lehigh University’s Asa Drive between the E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library (FML) and Farrington Square is blocking off a highly trafficked student walkway.
Doug Spengel, Lehigh’s associate director of utilities and energy management, said the project will not be completed until the end of the summer and may even last until the 2022 fall semester.
The water pipe being installed will supply water to the buildings on both sides of Asa Drive, including Whitaker Laboratory, Sinclair Laboratory, FML, Farrington Square, Maginnes Hall and the STEPS building.
Spengel said the installation is necessary because the previous pipes were old and leaking.
Businesses in Farrington Square are being affected by the construction.
Lizbeth Munoz, ‘25, a student employee at the Lehigh University Bookstore, said the bookstore has had difficulty getting shipments.
“A lot of the stuff that we typically would have stocked up hasn’t been stocked up for a while,” Munoz said. “Customers constantly ask if we have stuff available. We just don’t have them in yet.”
Munoz said the bookstore is also seeing less business from prospective students visiting campus due to the construction.
Spengel said LU Facilities is doing everything they can so buildings with loading docks along the affected area can receive their shipments.
“We’re trying to keep all loading docks open as much as possible, even though each of them will have to be closed, at least briefly at some point, because the pipe runs all the way down the street,” Spengel said.
Asa Drive is a busy walkway connecting a majority of the Asa Packer campus with Farrington Square. In Farrington Square there are student residence halls, businesses and student services.
Instead of being able to walk directly across Asa Drive, students now must follow a detour that takes them around the construction.
Conor Monahan, ‘24, lives in Farrington Square. Monahan said the construction has not had a huge impact on his life, but he finds it inconvenient to walk the extra few yards when it is cold and snowing.
Spengel said construction start times have been purposely delayed to accomodate for the students who may be sleeping in nearby residence halls.
“I haven’t been able to hear (the construction) from where I’m living,” Monahan said. “I haven’t been in my room during the day when they’re usually working on it.”
Due to this pipe installation, a portion of the construction for the new Health, Science, and Technology Building has been delayed, Spengel said.
The end date of the construction remains indefinite.