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Driving You Crazy: What are they digging up along Highway 93 north of 64th?

Lanes reduced for Denver Water pipeline project
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Posted at 8:32 AM, Sep 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-07 10:43:15-04

Shelby from Golden writes, “What is driving you crazy? A sign popped up yesterday on highway 93 for northbound traffic by 64th Avenue saying roadwork is about to start. Do you know what type of road work? Closures? Traffic impact?”

Shelby, I’m glad you asked. That is, believe it or not, a project by Denver Water. They have already started their North System Renewal project that they say is an update to Denver Water’s northern infrastructure. The project involves installing the North water Pipeline, an 8.5-mile, 5.5-foot diameter pipeline that runs through parts of Arvada, Jefferson County, Lakewood and Wheat Ridge. That pipe is being installed underground and one of the roads it will cut under is Highway 93 near 64th Ave.

Jose Salas with Denver Water tells me they plan on starting the work late on Sunday, Sept. 9. “Highway 93 will be reduced to one lane in each direction for approximately a one-mile stretch north of 64th Avenue until mid-October while our contractor installs a pipeline underneath the highway”.

Salas added that a four-foot-wide shoulder will remain open, allowing bike traffic through during the project.

The pipeline is part of Denver Water’s North System Renewal project. The 5.5-foot diameter pipeline will be buried underground along an 8.5-mile route from Ralston Reservoir in Golden to the Moffat Treatment Plant in Lakewood, replacing a smaller existing pipeline.

MORE: Read more traffic issues driving people crazy

Denver Water says this North System Renewal project will improve the safety and reliability of Denver’s aging water system. That original water delivery system was constructed in the 1930s, when the surrounding area was mostly farmland. Now, 80 years later, the North System is reaching the end of its lifespan.

The project’s first phase requires tunneling under four intersections where the pipeline will cross major highways and railroad tracks. Denver Water says tunneling is the preferred method through high traffic areas because it minimizes disruption to drivers and to local businesses.

A 300-foot open trench will be cut across Highway 93 near 64th Avenue and traffic will be impacted. Denver Water will shift the traffic lanes to divert traffic around the construction site. One lane of traffic will be open in each direction throughout construction that is expected to last until around mid-October, depending on the weather and the progress they make each day. There are three additional road and recreational trail crossings along the route that require open trench work. This first phase will directly impact two residential and about a dozen commercial properties.

In all there are 7 tunnels along this water line route. Most have been completed. When they are all done with this phase of the project they will go back and finish installing the new pipeline. That is expected to take a couple of years. When the North System Renewal project is finished in 2024, the pipeline will carry drinking water from the new North water Treatment Plant at Ralston Reservoir to the Moffat Site in Lakewood.

If you would like some more information or want to continue to follow the project, Denver Water has a site set up with all the additional information.

Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 20 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlayPodbean or YouTube