The North Delta Irrigation Company's new pipeline beneath Cory Bench was finally installed last weekend and could be in operation with water flowing this week.
After more than two weeks of round-the-clock operations, excavators succeeded last weekend unearthing equipment buried some 90 feet beneath Cory Bench, which enabled workers to repair a broken shackle and cable assembly.
The remaining 300 to 400 feet of pipeline was then pulled through the company's collapsed tunnel bore to the west portal.
Amazingly, the massive, two-week-long earth moving project begun when the equipment failure occurred may not in the end delay the pipeline project's scheduled completion. Lynn French, company representative, told the DCI on Tuesday that the original June 1 goal for having water flowing in the new pipeline was still attainable.
An estimated 50,000-plus cubic yards of earth was moved by an armada of heavy equipment creating the giant crater which allowed workers to access and recover failed equipment in the collapsed 110-year-old old tunnel bore.
French was highly positive in his assessment of the work done on the project by excavators Beavers Construction of Hotchkiss. "They really stepped up to the plate and got right to work," French said.
The primary contractor on the $1.2 million to $1.6 million pipeline project is a Denver-based firm.
While the excavation work was needed to salvage the project from a major setback on the pipeline installation, there was still some good fortune found along the way, French explained. In particular, underground soil conditions were dry and conducive to the work all the way down to the tunnel bore level. Weather, though blustery at times, generally cooperated and was also dry, allowing work to proceed inhibited. In addition, the point of the equipment failure underground allowed excavators to avoid digging and creating severe disturbance on residential property located atop Cory Bench.
The owners of property where excavation took place gave immediate permission for the work to commence and were "completely cooperative," French said. Other property owners in the neighborhood were also cooperative and helpful. "That cooperation was so important," he added.
The company's quarter-mile-long tunnel carrying water from the Gunnison River collapsed last summer. The approximately 170 members who irrigate North Delta farm lands have since been using supplementary water supply from Tongue Creek. Company members had voted to assess themselves a portion of the grant-loan funded pipeline project
With a new, four-foot-diameter pipeline and other improvements on the system's east portal end, North Delta Irrigation Company will begin working to fund other system improvements, French said.blog comments powered by Disqus