Pierson estimated his crew had installed between 200 and 300 feet of 10-inch sewer pipe in the first two or three weeks, starting at the lower end of South Ruffner Road.
"We'll probably have two crews working -- one working on the mainline and the second working behind them, hooking up customers, concreting the road back up."
On a recent morning, Pipe Plus had three crews on the job, he said. "We have six people in this crew [on the mainline], four on Adrian Road and five on the crew up in the woods."
With an orange Doosan excavator, they carved a trench 10 to 12 feet deep along the right-hand lane of the road heading up the hollow, Pierson said.
"It's 4 to 6 feet wide -- enough to get our trench box in, and every time we put a manhole in, we have to dig 10 feet wide." The trench box is a pair of steel plates that press against the sides of the ditch, protecting workers inside from a cave-in.
With a maze of water and gas pipes hidden underground, not to mention rocks and springs, progress can be slow.
"On a good day, we can do 100 feet. We lay it in 20-foot sections. You've got groundwater. You've got utility lines to deal with. When you've got a fiber-optic line, water pouring in, it's hard to get 20 feet in. It's never the same thing day to day."
Every evening, they cover any open ditches with steel plates and reopen the road to traffic.
As part of the city-approved traffic control plan, electric message boards on both sides of MacCorkle Avenue tell drivers how far they can drive up the hollow before they reach the work site.
"We have 300 days to get the job done, but we'd like to get South Ruffner done by the end of October so we can get it paved," Pierson said. "But let's make this clear: I don't have a crystal ball."
Once the job is complete, sewers along South Ruffner will be much less likely to back up during storms, said Tim Haapala, operations manager at the sanitary board.
In addition, each customer will get a sewer cleanout assembly near their property line, he said. "It's a 6-inch-diameter piece of vertical pipe with a screw cap on it. In all our new construction, we put them in."
In case of a problem, workers can drop a robotic camera down the pipe that can crawl through the system, looking for leaks or blockages.
Pipe Plus, one of the contractors on the Kanawha Two-Mile project last year, specializes in sewer installations, Pierson said.
"It's pretty similar to what we did on Chandler Drive," he said. "It might be a little narrower here.
"We're a local company. We understand it's an inconvenience. We're doing our best to get the job done.
"Job number two, aside from not getting anybody hurt, it trying not to inconvenience homeowners."
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.