Tyler Park during Eastern Parkway water main break in 2014 | Photo from louisvilleky.gov
Tyler Park during Eastern Parkway water main break in 2014 | Photo from louisvilleky.gov

Starting in November, the Louisville Water Company will spend three years replacing 6.4 miles of one of the city’s oldest water transmission mains along Eastern Parkway. It’s going to cause traffic and environmental disruption and will cost about $25 million.

The project will be completed in three chunks to minimize disruption, Louisville Water says.

This transmission main carries water from the Crescent Hill Treatment Plant on Frankfort Avenue to downtown and the Cardinal Hill Reservoir in the south end of town. The first phase of the project, slated for November 2016 through mid-April 2017, involves work on 2.2 miles of the water main, running from Eastern Parkway and Beargrass Creek, near Poplar Level Road, to Grinstead Drive, near Lexington Road and Cherokee Park.

This main is cast iron and 48 inches in diameter. It transports 15 million gallons of water a day and was installed between 1923 and 1930.

Louisville Water will have an interactive map on its website to track road closures once the project starts. Construction will begin at Beargrass Creek and move east toward Cherokee Park. Work will typically occur from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., but crews will work overnight when they reach intersections to advance the project more rapidly.

Mary Susan Abell, Louisville Water Company’s communication supervisor, addressed the environmental impact of the project on the message board Nextdoor:

“Louisville Water has worked hard to minimize the environmental impact of this project. In fact, of the hundreds of trees along this route we anticipate removing no more than 25. These range from 1-inch trees to a 30-inch silver maple that is in the median near Eastern Parkway and Valley. Several of the trees are already distressed and are likely near the end of their life. After work begins there may be additional trees that are impacted but we won’t know the final number until decisions on construction pit locations are determined. Even under a worse-case scenario, we are confident this project will impact less than 35 trees.”

Map of the Eastern Parkway Project
Map of the Eastern Parkway Project

Abell told IL that Phase 1 of the project has seven “subphases,” varying in size by locations. Crews will be digging pits and threading a 42-inch steel replacement pipe through the existing 48-inch cast iron pipe in a process called “slip-lining.”

Fall and winter is low-demand season for water, Abell explained, therefore working through the winter made the most sense. “We anticipate no loss of water service at all,” she said.

In September, Louisville Water named Spencer Bruce CEO. Bruce had served as interim president and CEO since January 2016, after the retirement of Jim Brammell, as president and CEO.

Louisville Water began operations in October 1860, as Kentucky’s first public water provider. Bruce is the 19th president of Louisville Water.