A project that will increase water pressure for northwest Oklahoma City residents is causing short-term traffic problems.
Workers began installing 42-inch water lines in May, and the work is expected to continue until September 2013.
The installation of water lines is part of a larger project expanding the Lake Hefner water treatment plant.
“With the plant expansion to 100 million gallons per day from the Hefner plant, we needed more water lines to deliver more water,” utilities spokeswoman Debbie Ragan said.
Installation is ongoing in two sections of Hefner Road. The first is at Hefner and Western, the second at Lake Hefner Parkway and Hefner Road.
The intersection at Hefner Road and Western had been limited to one lane of traffic in each direction but was reopened to four lanes last week.
Price of progress
The project at Hefner Road and Lake Hefner Parkway has caused significant delays in traffic at peak times with a small section of the street narrowed to two lanes in front of The Lighthouse Fitness Center.
The center's general manager, Dean Murphey, said the club is encouraging members to use the facility's rear entrance instead of the Hefner Road entrance.
“I know it's a little bit of an inconvenience for us, but it's not a severe problem,” Murphey said. “I also know that it's going to help down the line as far as water pressure. It's not hurting our business.”
In some areas, rather than tearing up streets completely, workers are boring under them to install the lines.
“We directed contractors to bore underneath the intersections and roadway,” Ragan said. “This allowed us to keep two lanes of Hefner open to traffic. Boring is more expensive but the best option to keep traffic flowing.”
Ragan said she was unaware of any complaints from motorists or area residents about the project.
“A few residents have asked if they might lose power or water,” Ragan said. “One of the contractors, United Trenching, has a PR firm that is keeping residents in the area updated on construction activities.”
I know it's a little bit of an inconvenience for us, but it's not a severe problem. I also know that it's going to help down the line as far as water pressure. It's not hurting our business.”