Saturday was one of those almost but not quite days for the Campbell County boys soccer team. Top-ranked and consensus favorite to win the Class 4A state soccer tournament, the Camels fell just …
Utility crews are in the process of digging to the source of a water main break — the sixth in the area in four years — that occurred late Thursday night under a section of Westover Road from Skyline Drive to White’s Frontier Motors.
That section of the road will be closed until they assess the damage and determine whether the road is safe for travel.
Drivers are asked to use Moonshiner Lane to get to the Westover Hills subdivision.
Skyline Drive remains open to traffic, but the city urges drivers to use caution when crossing Westover Road because some of the water that escaped the broken main iced over the intersection, said city spokesman Joe Lunne. Crews responded quickly after the water main broke and they spread sand over the area to improve traction.
About 100,000 gallons of water were lost, Lunne said. A few houses near the break lost water completely and water pressure is low throughout the area.
Until street crews get to the source of the break, there will be no definitive answer as to how long the road will be closed. Lunne believed that by Friday evening, the road will reopen.
In the last four years, the pipe broke six times along a half-mile stretch of Westover Road between Skyline Drive and west of White’s Energy Motors.
According to city officials, the breaks in the pipe are occurring because of improper installation 33 years ago. The 12-inch pipe was installed in 1979 by the same developer who developed Westover Hills.
Kendall Glover, city of Gillette utilities director, told the City Council in December that he had no reason to believe the city had fixed the problem with the water main to the point where there wouldn’t be any more breaks. He said if the root of the problem does, in fact, stem from the way the pipe was installed, then continued breaks would be imminent.
Because these breaks occur so often, improving the pipeline running along Westover is a priority project now for the city of Gillette.
The utilities and engineering departments suggest building the project in phases.
The first phase would be from the intersection of Skyline and Westover to the intersection of Westover and Westhills Loop. The second phase would be from the intersection of Westover and Westhills Loop to Pump Station 2 in the Foothills area and have to go under Interstate 90 and railroad tracks to get there.
Based on today’s prices per foot, the preliminary construction estimate for phase one is $2.2 million. The entire project would be $3.1 million.
Replacing 7,300 linear feet of the old pipe with the new 16-inch pipe (to handle increased volumes) would save the city the money that would be spent on future repair works. Each repair in the past cost the city about $75,000, according to information Glover presented the City Council.
The city’s current budget doesn’t include money for the project. But the utilities department wants to begin the design and the cost estimate before the city goes into budgeting in the summer. The department wants to begin construction as soon as July 1, Glover said.
The city plans to bid the first phase and include the second phase as an alternative. In that case, the city can build the whole project if it gets good prices. If the prices are high, then the city will just build phase one.
At the Dec. 17 City Council meeting, the council approved a design contract that began the process of replacing about one mile of water main that runs underneath Westover Road. It allocated $150,861 for the design and awarded the contract to Morrison-Maierle Inc.
“This stretch of pipeline has obviously been giving us problems — some of these incidents have been breaks in the water main, but there have been some contractor ‘hits’ on the main as well,” Lunne said.