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Major Water Project To Begin In The Highlands This Fall

Jacob Ryan

Deteriorating water pipes beneath Eastern Parkway need replacing, and the Louisville Water Company is set to begin work in the coming weeks on a major project to do so.

The work will be done in phases and span three years, said MarySusan Abell, spokeswoman for the water company.

Abell said the project would "absolutely cause headaches," including detours, lane closures and traffic snarls. But she said the $23 million project would not lead to hikes in water bills. The work isn't projected to cause water outages or drops in water pressure.

The first phase of work is set to begin in early November and will last through April. This phase will span eastward about two miles from Eastern Parkway near Poplar Level Road to Lexington Road and Grinstead Avenue via Willow Avenue.

"The whole two miles will not be closed off at any one time," said Abell, noting smaller sections of road closures are likely.

Other phases will follow the same timeframe, November through April. Abell said that period is ideal for such projects because generally, less water is being used.

The project has been in the works for about a year. It includes replacing roughly 6.6 miles of pipe.

Louisville Water officials have met with representatives from Metro Public Works, TARC, Jefferson County Public Schools and the Metro Council in an effort to ensure minimal complications.

A spokesman for TARC said transit officials would "develop detours and get word out closer to the [project] start."

A spokeswoman for Jefferson County Public Schools did not return a request for comment.

Abell said mailers detailing the project were scheduled to go to residents next week. Doing the work now, she said, would alleviate future issues associated with antiquated piping.

Crews will employ a "push-pull pit" method, which will allow the new, 42-inch steel pipe to be fitted inside the larger, existing pipe. This will allow crews to destroy fewer miles of roadway and is a considerably less invasive form of work, Abell said.

The 48-inch cast iron piping that currently transmits about 15 million gallons of water daily from the reservoir in Crescent Hill westward dates back to the 1920s.

"It's basically come to the end of its useful life," Abell said.

The main could falter if it's not replaced, which would leave residents without water, as was the case in three recent breaks near Crittenden Drive, the University of Louisville and Tyler Park. Abell said tests following those breaks revealed additional leaks.

"Once this is done, we have a brand-new pipe that should last for 100 years," she said.

Residents will soon have access to an online map of the work, which is expected to provide detour updates.

Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.