The first portion of the new Carson Street water main may go live this week.
Q&D Construction Inc., which broke ground on the downtown corridor project two weeks ago, is on schedule to start up the initial section of new main running from William to Robinson streets.
Replacing the more than 50 year-old pipe is the first major step in the seven-month project to narrow a 15-block portion Carson Street, widen its sidewalks and add bike lanes, parking spots and a pedestrian plaza with the goal of making downtown a more inviting destination.
The construction company is removing 4,000 feet of cast iron and steel main and replacing it with a pipe made of plastic polymer known as PVC.
So far, Q&D has dug the trench, placed the new pipe in the ground alongside the old main, which is still working, from William to Washington streets.
That will be stretched this week to Robinson Street, where the new pipe can connect to lines running down William and Robinson streets.
First, though, the PVC pipe will be pressurized, flushed with chlorine to disinfect it and tested twice in two days for a bacteria called coliform.
Once it receives a clean bill of health, Q&D crews will connect the 8-inch pipe to 3/4-inch branches that run to and service the businesses located along Carson street.
“The biggest coordination effort has to be a time when there is no water on. We shut down the old line and tie the new line into the distribution network,” Daniel Rotter, engineering manager, Carson City Public Works, said.
When that happens, water has to be shut off to those businesses for a two- to four-hour window, said Rotter, in order to hook them up to the new main.
The work will proceed business by business, block by block.
At the same time, 6-inch clay sewer pipes that run underneath side streets running east-west also is being replaced with 8-inch PVC.
“The clay pipes are brittle and starting to collapse,” said Rotter.
In total, 1,500 feet of sewer pipe will be removed and replaced.
If all goes to plan, the water main will be replaced from William to Fifth streets, the length of the project, before the end of April.
Q&D has already removed the medians north of Musser Street and plans to remove the rest up to Fifth Street this week.
Rotter said the city has received a number of requests for the shrubs that are being removed in the process so Q&D is collecting and placing them at a corner of Curry and Third streets.
The shrubs will be available for free from Monday at 5 p.m. until Wednesday morning.
The city also has received a lot of calls about the trees to be uprooted during the project. The city has hired a certified arborist to determine which trees can be salvaged.
In the corridor there are a total of 84 trees — flowering plum, flowering pear, crabapple and purple robe locust — and 26 are being removed and 13 replanted, primarily in Centennial Park.
A total of 94 trees will be planted during the project, with the exception of the purple robe locusts, which don’t fare well here, said Rotter.
This week, Q&D also will start work on Bob McFadden Plaza, the pedestrian plaza being built on the block of Third Street between Carson and Curry streets.
Last week the Carson City Board of Supervisors approved an agreement with Lopiccolo Investments LLC for a permanent easement needed to build the pedestrian space.
Construction starts with utility work and the plaza is slated to be completed by July.