City banks on loans to replace pipes, stimulate economy

The city of Grand Junction hopes to receive $7 million in state loans so it can fix an array of old water and sewer lines and install new sewer lines in the Redlands.

City officials are banking on the fast-tracking of the projects to have another benefit: pumping dollars into the construction industry and local economy, both of which have been laid low by the recession.

Workers will replace major water lines in three areas: Patterson Road from Seventh Street to 27 1/2 Road, North Avenue from First to 14th streets and 28 1/2 to 29 roads, and 27 1/2 Road from Sunshine Lane to Unaweep Avenue.

The replacement work is expected to cost $3.8 million.

City Utility Engineer Bret Guillory said a 20-inch steel line in Patterson Road will be replaced with a 10-inch line. He said the larger line was put in decades ago when city officials thought the additional capacity would be needed in the future. But the Ute Water Conservancy District absorbed many of those customers.

With less use than expected, the city has encountered water-quality problems in the line, Guillory said.

The 12-inch cast-iron water main buried in North Avenue has arguably been the city’s most problematic line. The line has broken at least nine times between Fourth and 12th streets since 2002.

“This is a good opportunity to get some lines changed out that have been problematic in the past,” Guillory said.

The city will spend $3.2 million to eliminate septic systems and install new sewer lines in an unspecified Redlands neighborhood and replace sewer lines near Persigo Wastewater Treatment Plant and Riverside Parkway in south downtown.

City officials say of the 590 miles of sewer piping within the system, some 220 miles are older lines. Some of those lines were installed more than 125 years ago.

Guillory said the city should learn by August whether it received the state loans. The projects would then be bid out shortly thereafter.


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