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Highway rehabilitation provides opportunity to start watermain replacement program

Last November, city crews had to replace a section of burst watermain near the intersection of Third and Victoria right next to where Thursday’s operation will occur. The break occurred on a cast iron water pipe installed in 1956.  City of Prince George photo

The province’s approval of rehabilitating a section of Highway 16 running through Prince George will provide the city with an opportunity to replace an aging section of watermain at Third and Victoria and to kick-start a strategy to replace the city’s oldest, and most break-prone mains.

Crews will be starting the operation Thursday evening, just prior to the province’s planned resurfacing of Victoria Street, which is part the province’s project to rehabilitate Highway 16 from Victoria Street and 22nd Avenue all the way to the Old Cariboo Highway.

The city operation will be concluded and the road repaved the following morning (May 29). During the operation, some buildings in the vicinity could experience a temporary water service disruption, lowered water pressure, or water discolouration. If discolouration occurs, simply run the tap until the water runs clear. Last week, city staff hand-delivered letters to the businesses directly affected by the operation, which will require the temporary closure of the Third and Victoria intersection. The city is working on the project at night to minimize disruption to downtown businesses.

The project is part of a city initiative to replace aging watermains along Third Avenue downtown that is expected to begin construction later this summer. The operation involves replacing the watermains and all associated water infrastructure between Vancouver Street and Victoria Street. This is part of the city’s larger watermain replacement program, which is a strategy for upgrading many of the city’s watermains that are determined to be the highest risk of failure. These mains break at about nine times the rate of mains outside of the downtown area and are past their 60-year service life. Although the 23 kilometres of watermains make up only four per cent of the city’s mains, they experience about a third of all breaks.

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