Bremerton's biggest water pipe coming back together

Event Date:
Friday, March 14, 2014 - 6:15pm

Kitsap Sun, March 14, 2014. By Josh Farley

BREMERTON — It had sprung a few leaks in its 58-year life. But public works crews were astonished at what they found when they removed the aged water line underneath the Warren Avenue Bridge.

 Water dripping from the sidewalk above had, over more than five decades, worn away the pipe’s lining. Crews found so much corrosion along the 1,700-foot pipe that “we were surprised water wasn’t squirting out,” said civil engineer Bill Davis, the city’s project manager for replacing the pipe.

 Crews this week began to install a new 20-inch, polyurethane-coated steel water main estimated to last 50 years — longer than the bridge’s expected life span.

 The $1.4 million project, which started in December, revamps the biggest of three mains that carry Bremerton Public Works and Utilities water between West Bremerton and East Bremerton. The two others — one runs under the Manette Bridge and the other goes under water near Lions Park — are picking up the slack while construction continues.

 The project is being funded by Bremerton utilities ratepayers.

 Ferndale-based contractor IMCO created an innovative pulley system to pull the old pipe off, piece by piece, and install the new pipe. “The construction method is pretty darn cool,” Davis said.

The only setback thus far was when pipe supports were damaged while the contractor pulled pieces of pipe off the bridge in 45-foot sections. Davis said a state Department of Transportation inspection found no damage to the bridge itself, but the contractor will have to replace the supports.

 Crews began installing the new pipe this week. The pipe, currently stored under the bridge off Lebo Boulevard, will be hoisted into place there, bolted together, and then pushed along the pulleys. Altogether, the pipes weigh 80,000 pounds.

 Construction is slated to wrap up in April. Later this year, crews will return to install shut off valves which will allow Public Works and Utilities to turn off the water in the event of a damaging earthquake. video

Kitsap Sun