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Colorado Springs Utilities, neighbors, merchants discuss yearlong water main project on Galley Road

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- This has been a rough year for travel so far along Galley Road between Powers and Murray boulevards on the city's east side.

In January, the city closed Galley between East San Miguel Street and Moffat Circle to relocate utility lines and replace a Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) water line in advance of a bridge replacement project over the West Fork of Sand Creek.

However, the bridge reopened in February as crews awaited the arrival of certain construction materials; the project resumed in April and is expected to continue through the end of the year.

Then, on Monday, CSU started a yearlong project to repair and replace nearly a mile of an aging and rusting water main between Moffat and Powers.

The main -- made of steel and cast iron -- is on the westbound side of Galley and was installed in the 1960s, according to Kalib Heidenreich, CSU manager of water, wastewater, construction and maintenance.

He said that the main is rusting because of age and a mild underground electric current generated by other utility lines, and placing a liner inside parts of the main will prevent replacement, save money and protect if from further deterioration.

"You put in a liner and then it inflates," Heidenreich explained. "And then, there's a curing process and it hardens itself. And basically, it uses the host pipe for the structural piece and renews the inside and gets rid of any corrosion or anything that will be plaguing that pipe."

He added that crews are also installing a device called a cathode on some sections of the main to absorb the underground electrical current and provide more protection to the main.

The main is under the westbound lanes of Galley, so signs and markers direct most traffic to detour at Wooten Road; local residents and businesses can travel through the construction site -- until reaching the bridge closure -- by sharing the eastbound lanes.

The project has generated mixed reaction from merchants and homeowners who spoke with KRDO 13's The Road Warrior.

"It's ridiculous," said John O'Leary, owner of O'Leary's Pub in the nearby Galley Plaza shopping center. "It's already affecting my business. It's affecting all of the businesses here. And the way it's done, the contractors that are doing it, nothing takes that long to get done."

Ida Spencer manages Smart Space storage on Galley and supports the project.

"We need it," she said. "We get water onto our property and it soaks into the ground and affects the electric lines that powers our main gate. We have to wait for it to dry out. In the summer, that might take a few hours but it takes longer in cooler weather."

Resident Lily Wear walked her dog along the work zone and expressed the frustration that other neighbors feel.

"I appreciate all the hard work our city's putting in," she said. "But (the project) is just a pain and it could be planned a little better."

If there's any consolation for drivers and neighbors, it's that a street is often repaved after a major utility project; part of Wooten Road is being repaved this week on the west end of the first phase of the water main project.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.


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