The Oak Ridge Public Works Department wants to replace a critical 74-year-old water line along West Outer Drive that has failed nine times since 2014.
The Oak Ridge City Council will consider a contract this evening for engineering services to replace the 14-inch cast iron water line between North Illinois Avenue and Wellington Circle. The contract for engineering services with LDA Engineering would be worth up to $120,000.
The city said the water line was installed around 1947. It is about 2,800 feet long and about three feet behind the curb on the north side of West Outer Drive.
“This section of waterline that Public Works proposes to replace has proven to be very unreliable,” Oak Ridge City Engineer Roger Flynn told City Manager Mark Watson in a memo on Monday.
The city staff found one failure in 2014 and eight more since 2018. The failures have been between 648 and 740 West Outer Drive.
“Each failure resulted in service interruptions and property damage requiring surface restoration and cleanup,” Flynn said. “This line is considered a critical line because it distributes water from the Jefferson Avenue water booster station to the Louisiana water reservoir and water tank. It should be noted there may have been previous failures that weren’t discovered.”
Public Works wants to install a new ductile iron waterline under the center of the westbound lane of West Outer Drive parallel to the existing line. All services, fire hydrants, and associated connections from side streets will be transferred to the new line, and the old line will be abandoned in place, Flynn said.
If the contract is approved, LDA Engineering will provide survey, design, and permitting services, as well as construction administration and drawings, Flynn said. Funding for that work will come from the city’s waterworks fund. The water line could be increased to a 16-inch pipe because it is common and available, Flynn said.
He said LDA Engineering was chosen because of a long history of providing engineering services for the Oak Ridge water distribution and wastewater collection system for 30 years. The staff has asked for an extra $10,000 to cover unforeseen expenses, meaning the total award would be $130,000 for design and construction supervision.
It’s not clear what the total cost of the installation project will be with construction.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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