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Work begins on Bull Run water pipe

Delays, detours likely for several months on portions of Bluff Road, city streets


Area drivers will find that rural areas of Bluff Road will be closed for lengthy delays during the spring, likely until some time in May. But less rural areas of Bluff Road and Hood Street could be closed into June and July.

Work is scheduled to begin alongside Hudson and Bluff roads next Monday, March 18, said Public Works Director Mike Walker. The project will bring about 5 miles of 18-24-inch diameter water pipe to Sandy from the Portland Water Bureau pipeline near Lusted and Dodge Park roads.

A meeting has been scheduled tomorrow, Walker said, to provide more information about the project and for project staff members to answer specific questions. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 14, in the council chamber (south entrance) at Sandy City Hall, 39250 Pioneer Blvd.

The $7.5 million project has been planned for some time, and under the agreement with the Portland Water Bureau, Sandy must start taking Bull Run water by October.

Roads near the construction will be closed to through traffic, with local traffic (residents and local deliveries) allowed to pass through the blockades, although local traffic could be subject to delays of up to 20 minutes.

Through traffic will have designated detours around the construction sites, and those detours will change as the construction moves closer to Sandy.

Detours to avoid Hudson Road could take drivers on Dodge Park Road to Proctor Road and then Bluff Road.

Detours to avoid portions of Bluff Road could take drivers on Hauglum Road to 362nd Avenue and back to Bluff Road.

By late spring, when construction on Bluff Road is between Hauglum and Kelso roads, detours could take drivers as far west as 352nd Avenue to avoid Bluff Road.

The contractor will be active between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, but some detours may stay in place during weekends.

Temporary paving will be applied where necessary, but later when the weather is better for paving, a more permanent asphalt covering will be applied where the road surface has been disturbed.

Pipeline work will continue into the city limits on Bluff Road during June and July. The pipeline eventually will leave Bluff Road, Walker said, and be placed alongside Hood Street east to Strauss, then south to Pleasant Street, then east to Revenue Avenue, then north to Hood Street to connect at the reservoir.

The 1-million-gallon reservoir will be constructed, partially above ground, at a site on vacant property owned by Frontier Communications, just south of the phone company’s switch building between Hood and Scenic streets, east of Revenue Avenue.

The project

The Bull Run project will connect the city of Portland’s Bull Run water supply and the city of Sandy’s water system. It includes a pump station near Lusted Road, a transmission pipe from that location to Sandy, following Hudson and Bluff roads as well as city streets, and a reservoir inside the city.

The project will provide more water for the growing city of Sandy, Walker said.

Without more water sources, normal growth in Sandy will soon go beyond the city’s maximum water supply, which comes from Alder Creek and Brownell Springs.

The city also needs a backup source of water, Walker said. Water from the springs and from the Alder Creek treatment plant travels to Sandy in a 16-inch pipe along Highway 26. Drought conditions reduce the amount of water available, and a break in the transmission main could leave the city totally without water.

This is a problem not only for convenience and public health, Walker said, but also for the ability to fight fires.

Federal law protects Portland’s Bull Run water, and a spokesperson for the Portland Water Bureau says it is one of the purest sources of drinking water in the world.

There have been increases in water rates to cover some of the borrowing costs to complete the project, and there will be more annual increases for a few years.

But Walker says Sandy will still have water rates below the average for the region. Rate increases will be in the range of $2 to $4 for the average household’s monthly bill.

For more information, attend the March 14 meeting, call Walker at 503-489-2162 or visit the website at cityofsandy.com/intertie.