Records from the 1920s helped Louisville Water Company and its contractor efficiently complete a portion of the first phase of the Eastern Parkway project, which is the largest water main repair project in Louisville Water’s 156-year history.
It’s an especially important project because the main along Eastern Parkway is near the end of its useful life. There have been several major breaks in the past five years, and robotic inspection revealed additional weak spots along the pipe walls.
Louisville Water finished installing a new main along Eastern Parkway in Phase One of the project in April. Crews installed a new 42-inch main inside an original 48-inch pipe. This innovative engineering solution, called slip-lining, allowed us to repair the main, preserve the character of the Eastern Parkway corridor and avoid disrupting water service for thousands of customers.
Phase One included replacing just over two miles of pipe from Eastern Parkway and Beargrass Creek near Poplar Level Road to Grinstead Drive near Lexington Road and Cherokee Park.
According to Project Engineer Michael Meyer — who gave a well-received presentation on the project in July at the Water Professionals Conference in Lexington — “the old record drawings from construction in the 1920s had some alignment and profile details that were very helpful for the contractor in determining if he could successfully maneuver the curves with the longest pipe lengths possible.”
Meyer explained that longer pipe lengths decrease contractor costs for installation. The maximum is 25 feet. The minimum is 10 feet.
“In one case,” Meyer said, “when crossing the Bardstown Road intersection, the as-builts [the drawings reflecting the condition of the project as it was constructed] helped to indicate that the pipe dipped low through the intersection without using bends during original installation.
“This allowed the contractor to push the new pipe through the intersection rather than open cutting with a trench, thus minimizing impacts to traffic and public activity and public safety.
“The contractor also climbed inside the pipe sections before pushing pipe to confirm the section was clear and free of problem areas.”
In all, Louisville Water will repair 6.6 miles of the Eastern Parkway water main over three years. Phase Two will begin soon and stretch west along Eastern Parkway at Poplar Level Road. The third and final phase of the project will conclude in 2019.