A street in Van Buren has had a name change and the city’s utility department can go ahead with excavation of a blocked sewer line after approval from city councilmen during their meeting Monday night.

Van Buren utilities will forgo bidding to hire a contractor to excavate an inaccessible manhole at the 700 block of Main Street after approval from council members during their regular monthly meeting.

An obstruction - possibly a collapse - is preventing the normal flow of sanitary sewage in the 6-inch sewer main, located between buildings and the railroad track, which could cause the system to fail, utilities officials said.

This could have an adverse affect on residents health and cause the city to be in noncompliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits.

Steve Dufresne, director of Van Buren Municipal Utilities, was at the meeting to answer questions about the obstruction.

"We’ve got to get to this manhole so we can assess the damage," Dufresne said.

The current manhole is at least 50 years old and is a "flush" type, which does not allow access to the main, Dufresne said.

Dufresne told council members that because there is no way to access the manhole and the obstruction has spurned even their attempts to view it with a camera cable, he does not know the extent of the damage or how to fix it.

Because of the urgency of the situation, council members agreed to allow the utilities department to forgo formal bidding.

Dufresne assured the council that a new manhole that allows permanent access will replacing the existing manhole.

Also at the meeting, a cul-de-sac previously named Azure Hills West was changed to Grandview Lane after council members approved a request by residents.

Mayor Bob Freeman told council members that the five residents who live on the street came together to request the name change after issues with mail delivery.

Problems with mail delivery stemmed from confusion between the street names Azure Hills West and Azure Hills Circle, which Freeman said had been an "ongoing issue" for the residents.

During the meeting, Alderman Mary Ann Dodd questioned if agreeing to the name change would bring a influx of requests. Freeman responded that he was unsure but, if so, it would be up to the council to approve or deny the requests.

"This is just five houses and all five of them agree," Freeman said.

City representatives already had spoken to 911 officials and were advised that there would be no issue with the change, Freeman said.

Though city officials also would be notifying the postmaster, Freeman said it was "up to residents to ensure that wherever they get mail from is notified of the change."

Freeman expects it will take the city no more than two weeks to get new street signs installed.