The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

PUD backs off on bridge water project


Last Tuesday, a desire to take advantage of a limited time frame, the temporary catwalk, and the paint crew contracted to work on the Puget Island bridge led to a hurried proposal to have the water main on the Puget Island bridge cleaned, painted and repaired to the tune of an estimated $250,000.

When discussion led General Manager David Tramblie to have second thoughts about the matter, the Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners agreed to recess for a week to allow him more time to research options.

The board reconvened this Tuesday, and while the plans for repair remained in place, the costs and the intention to have the water main cleaned and painted evaporated.

Tramblie discovered that both sections of the water main had been replaced around 1988. According to an engineer, that means the main is still at less than 50 percent of its estimated life.

“Not nearly as old as we thought,” Commissioner Dennis Reid said.

“Since the contractor’s estimate was to clean and paint only the portion of the water main on the old bridge, it doesn’t seem prudent to spend $150,000 and only update half the pipe,” Tramblie said. “Ten to twenty years from now we may want to go in another direction based on what happens with our water rights investigation and potentially directional boring, so at this time I agree with you, I think we should take a time out.”

After deciding that the cleaning and painting were no longer necessary, talk turned to the section of the pipe that needed repair. Last week, the proposal had been to purchase $40,000 worth of HDPE pipe in order to keep water flowing to Puget Island while the repair was completed. Altogether, that project was expected to cost as much as $100,000.

“After a conversation with a Department of Health representative I would recommend we make the repair by simply shutting off the water during the time it takes to make the repairs,” Tramblie said. “This does cause the most inconvenience to our customers, but it is the most cost effective solution.

“I would like to think we could get the job done in eight hours. There really isn’t any cost involved. We have the material in stock.”

Commissioners agreed and the meeting was adjourned.

The date for the repair has not been set, but Tramblie suspects it may happen sometime in July.


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