Even the most casual observer can see there’s a multitude of moving parts being stitched together at the Eby Creek Road construction site.
But the really complicated stuff is happening where most people will never see it.
As part of the construction project that’s bringing five new roundabouts to Eagle’s busiest roadway, new water lines, wastewater lines and storm drainage is being constructed underneath the new concrete. Crews finished the water line work just last week and have now shifted attention over to the wastewater line construction.
“It certainly didn’t make sense to put down millions of dollars of road improvements over old, suspect pipe,” said Eagle Town Engineer Tom Gosiorowski.
Not only were existing lines aging, in many cases they were in the wrong place. “About a third of the water line on Eby Creek Road had to be relocated because of the storm drainage plan,” Gosiorowski said.
As part of the Eby Creek Road plan, a comprehensive storm drainage system has been engineered. It will be a welcome change from the current system, or rather the lack of a current system. But the storm drainage pipe has a four-foot diameter, which means it takes up a lot of space underground and there are a lot of utilities to account for in the constrained locale.
“The street and the whole width of the right-of-way is just filled with underground utilities,” said Gosiorowski. That includes the town’s water and wastewater lines but also electric and gas lines and fiber optic cables. Gosiorowski credited assistant town engineer Deron Dircksen with coming up with the design and various subsequent redesigns that address the conditions under ground.
“It’s like trying to solve a 3D puzzle. There’s so much down there and everything is at different depths,” said Gosiorowski. “It becomes this very difficult problem of how to fit these things in and an even more challenging problem of missing existing lines while you dig.”
When complete, the new water and wastewater lines are designed to accommodate future growth, including the planned Eagle River Station project.
“In the future we know we are going to have to up size our water lines for development and we went ahead and up sized the wastewater lines as well,” said Gosiorowski.
Hard night’s work
If the challenges of fitting all the infrastructure into a congested right-of-way aren’t difficult enough, the nature of the Eby Creek project means that much of that work has to occur at night. Because utility work often necessitates shutting off service, the night time schedule is designed to minimize the impact of a water or wastewater shutdown.
“It’s just no fun doing night work,” Gosiorowski said. “Nighttime work is difficult and inherently dangerous because you can’t see very well even when you bring in lighting and people driving through the area can’t see workers very well.”
Gosiorowski said the night schedule for underground utilities will hopefully conclude in the next couple of weeks. Crews are currently stationed along Chambers Avenue, in front of the Alpine Lumber building.
“We have been starting at 7 p.m. and working as late as possible. Most nights we try to wrap up by 7 a.m. to accommodate the morning traffic,” Gosiorowski said.
As crews continue their work, motorists can expect a minor detour during the coming week. While traffic will be able to turn on to Chambers Avenue, motorists coming from Chambers will have to drive up to Loren Lane to access Eby Creek Road.
Church Street Closure
Gosiorowski noted that the Eby Creek Road construction schedule calls for another detour beginning next week.
Church Street will be closed between Second Street and U.S. Highway 6 for the reconstruction of the roundabout at the intersection. The closure will go into effect Aug. 13 and is expected to last for approximately one month.