Liberty Lane between Desert Foothills and 24th Street in Ahwatukee will remain a one-way, torn-up thoroughfare until sometime this fall.
Blame the inconvenience on city Water Services practice and the manufacturer of the water line pipe that the Arizona Department of Transportation is installing because of South Mountain Freeway construction.
ADOT is relocating a water main along the route and promised when the work began in March that it expected to be finished by June.
But it’s taking the department longer than expected to get enough new pipe, and now the work is intruding on the city Water Services Department’s practice of not allowing this kind of work during peak-demand summertime.
When this work is completed, Connect 202 Partners will need to connect the new water main to existing water mains along Desert Foothills Parkway and 24th Street – which will put those mains temporarily out of service.
“Due to higher water demand needs in the summer, the city of Phoenix requires this type of work be completed at certain times of the year when water demand is lower,” ADOT spokesman Dustin Krugel said. “Since waterline work was unable to be completed by the June cutoff period, Connect 202 Partners will need to complete this connection after this summer when water demand is lower.”
The work involved is massive.
ADOT is installing 1.3 miles of 4-foot-wide concrete cylindrical pipe at depths of 15 to 22 feet deep.
Moreover, the pipe manufacturer, Thompson Pipe Group in Grand Prairie, Texas, could not begin the work until ADOT completed its design plans. Because of other orders and because ADOT had to wait for comments on the design by various agencies, including the city water department, Thompson couldn’t even begin supplying the pipe until the end of April.
The pipe is “specifically engineered and manufactured” for the alignment and depth of the Liberty Lane project, Krugel said.
Additionally, creating a path for the pipe ran into some problems.
“Crews have encountered some areas of hard rock, but that was anticipated for this type of excavation work,” Krugel said. “Prior to installing the pipe in some areas, pre-drilling work has been ongoing since late February, making it easier to install the new pipe when it’s ready.”
Krugel said no completion date has been set yet and that “the traffic restrictions will be lifted once installation is complete and Liberty Lane has been repaved.”