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DAVID LOWE | DISPATCH RECORD A trench has been dug on West Avenue C between Walnut and Broad streets as part of a water line replacement project.
DAVID LOWE | DISPATCH RECORD A trench has been dug on West Avenue C between Walnut and Broad streets as part of a water line replacement project.

Water line replacement has begun on West Avenue C.

Qro Mex Construction Inc., based in Granite Shoals, started work earlier this month on the $492,600 project. A Community Development Block Grant is providing $265,000 toward the infrastructure work, and the city is paying the remainder.

Qro Mex will replace the water line from Key Avenue to Porter Street, then south on Porter to Avenue A, said Mike Blair, city utility field supervisor. Qro Mex also will install a new water line on West Avenue B from Nix Road to an alley just west of Arnold Street, Blair said.

Public Works Director Rickie Roy said Blair basically is functioning as the city's project manager for the water line replacement.

The new water line will be 8 inches in diameter and should provide much better service than what is available now, Blair said.

One section of the existing water line on West Avenue C has about 20 repair clamps within 300 feet, Blair said. With a new line -- and therefore a reduced need for repairs -- "it's going to be a whole lot better for them," Blair said of West Avenue C residents.

The existing water line under the street may date back to the 1940s or 1950s, Blair said.

Qro Mex began water line replacement at Key Avenue and plans to work westward in about three- to four-block sections, Blair said. Each section may take two to three weeks to complete, he said.

After the new water line is installed, Qro Mex will tie old lines at cross streets into the new 8-inch line on West Avenue C, Blair said. The company also will patch the pavement sections it cut, he and Roy said.

Qro Mex's entire project may be in "the finishing stages" around June or July 2020, Blair said.

Roy and Blair said city officials plan for West Avenue C to get a new curb and gutter system, as well as new pavement, once all utility work is finished. Officials plan to seek another Community Development Block Grant -- separate from the water-related grant --to help pay for the installation of a new sewer line under West Avenue C, Blair said. Once the new sewer line is installed, the street can be repaved, Blair said.

There could be some interruptions of water service for an hour or two at various points during the new line installation project, Blair said. There also could be water boil orders at some times in the project area if water pressure drops below the minimum level the state allows, he said. Boil orders are state-mandated, Blair said.

He said drops in water pressure should be resolved fairly quickly, especially if the cause is a valve being turned off briefly and then being turned back on.

"So if [residents will] just bear with us and give us an hour or so and then recheck their water, it'll probably be back up to normal where they're used to," Blair said. "If not, don't hesitate to call [the] city and make a report. I've got guys I can send out on it, or we'll go up there and see what's going on right then. I mean, that's our job. That's what we do 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

He said the city will try to keep streets open as much as possible throughout the water line project, but some temporary closures may be required at times. Blair advised people to observe warning signs in construction areas, and he encouraged motorists to reduce their speed in work zones.

It is a good idea to use an alternate route if possible, Blair said. He said that is true not just for motorists but also for bicycle riders and pedestrians. They can be difficult for workers to see, Blair said, when construction crews are using large equipment.