ALBANY, Ore. — Construction in North Albany could help relieve pressure in the event of a disaster as the city is being proactive with its water system.
Currently residents and businesses in North Albany only have one primary water main that runs along the Lyons Street Bridge to their homes and businesses.
Now the city is installing a second, larger water main that’ll run under the Willamette River and the Calapooia, to improve service to those customers and the downtown area.
The existing 20-inch in diameter water main that serves all of North Albany is suspended under the Lyons Street Bridge.
If something happened to that bridge, a smaller emergency main would take over, but Albany leaders want to prevent that from happening and provide a more reliable source.
“We don’t have any way to maintain it, we can’t get to it safely, so this will provide redundancy in everyday use and also in a catastrophic event,” said Engineering Technician III Lindsey Austin with the City of Albany.
As a precautionary measure, the city decided to put the new 30-inch in diameter water main underground.
“It’s safe from the hazards that the line would experience being up in the air, like it is at this point,” Austin said.
The new line will run from North Albany, under Highway 20, the Willamette and Calapooia Rivers, and Bryant Park. It will eventually tap into the main system near the hospital.
“We like to keep all of our systems looped so that if something goes down we’re always able to serve most people from another direction,” Austin said.
Crews are remotely controlling a “mud motor” that’s placed on the end of a drill pipe to tunnel their way about 55 feet below the river bottoms and 70 feet below the park.
“Every 30 feet we’ll get a locator right where we are and what we’re doing and we can control where it goes, up and down, left, right,” said Drill Foreman Matt Brotherton with Brotherton Pipeline Inc.
They’re currently drilling into the ground, pumping out gravel and dirt, and putting back in a water solution to prevent the hole from collapsing.
Once that’s done, they’ll pull the new pipeline through.
Construction on the first phase is expected to be completed by the middle of October.