VALPARAISO | There's nothing like a major roundabout project to help the city replace an aging water line.
The city's Utilities Department has felt that way ever since plans to build a roundabout at the five-points intersection of North Calumet Avenue, Roosevelt Road and Vale Park Road was announced two years ago. The water line along North Calumet is 80 years old and was the original line from Flint Lake, when that was the city's source of water.
Chuck McIntire, water distribution manager, said at Tuesday's utilities board meeting the aged 16-inch diameter cast iron pipe would have run under the middle of the roundabout, which will be built in 2013, and "We don't want any unplanned fountains in the middle of the roundabout."
It took two years for the department to persuade the Indiana Department of Transportation to include the cost of replacing the water mains as being eligible for 80 percent federal funding, as is the rest of the project. The total cost of replacing several mains through the intersection will be about $455,000, of which the utility's share will be about $115,000.
A 60-year-old, 14-inch main on the west leg of Vale Park will be replaced with a 16-inch line. McIntire said the 14-inch is an odd size that would require a special order and it makes more sense to use the standard size. A 12-inch line from the roundabout to the WiseWay store is planned, along with a 10-inch connection on Roosevelt to an 8-inch main that now deadends south of the intersection. The new connection will create a loop to improve service.
The project will include new valves and fire hydrants and change the cast iron for the more durable ductile iron pipes. Construction is expected to start in June and be completed by the end of the year. Traffic will be maintained throughout the construction, and water service to the area also will be maintained.
The utilities board agreed Tuesday to pay American Structurepoint $27,000 for the design of the water main portion of the project. The design was completed last month in order for the city to meet a deadline to get the plans to INDOT by the end of October.
McIntire said the 80-year-old water main is not the oldest still operating in the city. He said a few 95-year-old lines can be found in the older section of the city around Valparaiso University and the Hilltop Neighborhood.
Utility Director Steve Poulos said the department checked the storm and sanitary sewer lines through the intersection with TV cameras and, except for a couple of minor repairs, found those to be in good shape.