Downtown Asheville will be the site of three major water-line construction projects over the next three months. For drivers, that means plenty of orange cones, delays and lane closures.
The construction will start Monday on Eagle Street, from Biltmore Avenue to South Charlotte Street, according to a news release from the city of Asheville. The work, which is scheduled to be finished in mid-June, will reduce the street to one lane. Businesses and residents shouldn’t lose water service, according to the city.
The second project is expected to start April 7 on Tunnel Road, from the Beaucatcher Tunnel to Kenilworth Road. The project will replace and re-route lines through the tunnel in an effort to increase water pressure, according to the city. Drivers who use the tunnel can expect traffic delays. The work is expected to be finished in early fall.
The third project is scheduled to start April 14 on College Street and extend to the tunnel. It’s scheduled to be finished in early fall.
Water-line replacement in the central business district has been a high priority because those lines have some of the oldest infrastructure and highest number of leaks in the city’s aging water system, according to the city’s news release.
The projects are on a list of 11 major construction projects to make repairs to the city’s water-line infrastructure, work that has been deferred for years. Other work includes adding new valves to lines, installing back-up power to the water system’s 38 pump stations and adding new fire hydrants. It’s being paid for by a $40 million revenue bond Asheville City Council approved in 2007.
Last November, the city approved bids totaling $35.5 million for the 11 projects. The city plans to spend a total of $65 million to fix the system. Water customers will pay for the bonds and other repairs through a capital-improvement fee that already appears on bills.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor