WEBER COUNTY — A water pipeline that serves two-thirds of Ogden, and part of Weber County is getting a much-needed overhaul. The century-old pipes have leaks, and there was even a major water main break several years ago.
This construction project is something that a lot of locals have been waiting for. In 2008, the pipeline burst leaving thousands of people without water. Several schools had to cancel classes.
New crews are working on getting all the old pipes out, and putting the new pipeline in all during the coldest time of year. For many passers-by, this project may seem like nothing more than a minor traffic headache.
There will be only one lane open through Ogden Canyon right as ski season is starting up.
"We're really restricted in the space that we have," said construction worker, Mike Whittaker.
But for construction crews, that means an unusually tight working area. On Tuesday morning, they were digging out the old to make room for the new.
"It certainly needs to be surgical," Whittaker said. "Where we're using a new technology, pipe-bursting that allows that."
There will be only one lane open through Ogden Canyon right as ski season is starting up. If traveling through the canyon this winter, people should expect about a 10 minute delay.
Mike Whittaker of Whittaker construction is talking about a new device that will move inside the 98-year-old pipeline cutting through the bottom.
"[It will be] expanding it and moving it outside allowing the new pipe that's attached inside this to follow right in suit," he said.
The Matheson Pipe Joint was the latest technology when it was first used 98 years ago, and as an old ad suggested, it was a major upgrade from wood pipe. They also called it the only pipe that could be laid and forgotten which didn't turn out to be so true anymore.
"Whenever a pipe breaks unexpectedly, it's very difficult and expensive to replace," said Ogden City engineer, Justin Anderson.
Ogden City had to scramble to repair a portion of the pipeline in January of 2008 when a break left about 4,000 people without water. Four area schools were canceled.
"This project consists of four miles, and we've broken it up into four phases," Anderson said.
That first phase focuses on the oldest stretch of pipe. Workers have already capped-off the supply, putting a temporary system in place.
The canyon gets extremely cold and although winter is not an ideal time for construction, it was important to get the project started so that the water pipeline could be back up to speed in time for summer.
If all goes as planned, there should be very little change to the water service, just hopefully no more bursting pipes. In total, this project is expected to cost about eight to nine million dollars.
If traveling through the canyon this winter, people should expect about a 10 minute delay.