Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bellevue water main upgrades continue

Fire hydrants tested and replaced

Express Staff Writer

The ongoing years-long effort to upgrade Bellevue's water mains will restart again in September.

Twenty-two city blocks will get upgrades from old 4-inch water lines to new 8-inch pipes.

Craig Eckles said the $700,000 upgrade will increase water flows for domestic and fire-fighting use.

Mike Choate of Galena Engineering will oversee the project for the city. He told the City Council last Thursday that the project will begin next month and take 180 days to complete.

"It's 10,000 feet of pipe and 200 connections," Choate said. "This will attract out-of-town contractors because it's a big project."

The project will be funded with $500,000 of city funds and a $201,000 federal grant for engineering.

Digging will begin under Bellevue Memorial Park and proceed through town in alleys between second and fifth streets, as well as along the north side of Birch Street from Fifth Street to Main Street.

The project, which could be completed by next summer, will not include the installation of water meters.

Choate said every block that gets a new water main will also receive a new fire hydrant, further enhancing the city's safety with regard to fire fighting. Fire Chief Greg Beaver said the upgrade will allow more water to be pumped through trucks in case of a downtown fire.

Firefighters in Bellevue discovered a partially stuck fire hydrant last month while fighting a fire in downtown Bellevue. The incident led to a hydrant pressure-testing program throughout the city.

"We tested 70 percent of them on drill night last week," Beaver said. "We should have them completed in the next week or two."

Tony Evans:

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