Water line project kicks off

Officials hope construction creates minimal disruption

By Sarah Pridgeon

Work has begun to install a new water transmission line that will run from the fairgrounds in Sundance to the Mt. Moriah water tank at the other end of Cleveland Street. Along with the second portion of the project, which will upsize pressure valves to further increase flow, the purpose of the new line is to increase the amount of water that would be available in the event of a fire.

The project began last week down by the fairgrounds. Over the next few weeks, residents will see crews installing the pipeline as they travel the length of the planned route.

“They’re going to dart through the fairgrounds, over past the high school and then up to Cleveland Street,” says Mayor Paul Brooks.

“They’ll come onto Cleveland Street somewhere between east 1st Street and west 1st Street and then up to the Mt. Moriah water tank, which is on the road to Mt. Moriah cemetery.”

Construction will be visible on the north side of Cleveland Street once the crews reach this portion of the project.

“I wanted to go on the south side, but there was enough congestion over there that they opted to go on the other side of the road,” says the mayor.

The project is expected to be complete by the end of this fall season and will have minor impacts on traffic during the interim, he continues.

“It’s scheduled to be done by October 10. There are going to be some impacts to traffic, obviously. We’re going to dig up an intersection or two, if everything goes well,” Brooks says.

“Hopefully, we’re going to have a bore hole in the middle and bore towards the fire hall, and then bore towards the Mt. Moriah tank and then connect the dots. One intersection will be disrupted and conceivably more depending on how the pipe works.”

A welded plastic pipe not used before in the city, it must be welded above ground and then pulled through the bore. It may become necessary to open up more of the street than anticipated to accommodate the pipe and avoid cracking, which could increase the impact on traffic.

The PRV valve portion of the project will take place at the same time and is not expected to have an effect on traffic. Valves will be replaced in various locations around town, including within buildings.

“If everything is what we expect – and we haven’t dug it up yet, so we don’t know – that one should have incredibly minimal impact,” says Brooks. “Part of the work was done as a change order when we re-routed the water across where the new football field now resides.”

The project was first discussed during construction of the new elementary school, when testing took place on the water system. The city realized that it did not have adequate water flow to address a fire at the new school and was concerned that this could lead to a tragic situation.

“The amount of water delivered to a fire was different 20 years ago to what it is today in the sense that almost all commercial buildings today have sprinkler systems. What you don’t want is the fire department pumping water out of a fire hydrant and starving the sprinkler system,” says Brooks.

The council began taking steps to solve the problem as quickly as possible.

“We did a consensus project to loop the system, tying the north side of town to the south side of town. That basically doubled the fire flow – the amount of water you can deliver to a fire hydrant,” says the mayor.

“But even having it doubled, it’s not adequate for today’s standards for fighting a fire. Now, we’re tweaking the rest of the system trying to get it to where we can get enough water there.”

Mayor Brooks warns that this fall could be a busy time for Sundance, with more construction projects on the table.

“There is going to be additional impact because, probably at the same time we’re doing that, we’re also going to be hopefully working on Old Stoney and demolishing the old high school building. There’s going to be a lot of activity in town at that point, along with potentially closing the landfill,” he says.

“We would like to ask the public for their patience during this time because you don’t fix things without interrupting people’s day-to-day routines.”