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Water main leak complicates Air Show, Fair traffic


A leak in a major Hillsboro water transmission line is complicating weekend traffic to the 2013 Oregon International Air Show and Washington County Fair.

The Joint Water Commission is working to locate and repair a leak on a 66-inch water transmission line that serves north Hillsboro. The leaking pipe section is located on Northwest Evergreen Road, between 273rd Avenue and Sewell Road.

Traffic on Evergreen Road has been decreased to one lane in each direction from 273rd to Sewell, in order to accommodate the repair activities. Air Show organizers have requested that those driving to the event take Jackson School Road to minimize traffic congestion in the area affected by the repair work.

"It is unfortunate that the leak occurred this week, when these major events will bring high traffic volumes to Hillsboro," said Kevin Hanway, JWC General Manager. "However, our priority has to be to maintain service to our customers by repairing the line immediately. If the repair work had been delayed and the leak had worsened, all of north Hillsboro potentially could have lost water service. That is not a risk the community would want us to take."

The leak is in one of two main transmission lines feeding Hillsboro. It was discovered late Tuesday, July 23. A crew quickly mobilized to perform the excavation and repair.

Because the line is a critical component of the water system that serves Hillsboro and Tualatin Valley Water District, the JWC could not delay its emergency response until after the weekend, even though the Washington County Fair and the Oregon International Air Show will occur in close proximity to the repair site.

Service to customers has not been disrupted and should continue throughout the repair process. Because the leak was discovered in time, JWC operators were able to supply water to the area from another transmission line that serves south Hillsboro. They also filled the Evergreen Reservoir to its 15-million gallon capacity as additional back-up supply for the north Hillsboro area.

Pipes of this size are buried deep in the ground below the roadway and must be excavated so the leak is located and repaired. The repair requires the affected section of pipeline to be shut off and drained. The isolated section of this mammoth line holds 1.2 million gallons of water and will take 12-13 hours to drain.

The JWC anticipates the line and road repair will be completed sometime late Friday night, July 26. A more detailed timeline will be made available as the repair work progresses. JWC is striving to complete the project and return the water system and Evergreen Road traffic to normal operations as soon as possible.

For more information, please contact Hillsboro Water at (503) 615-6702, or visit the Hillsboro Water website at www.hillsborowater.org.