From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Kevin Duggan):
After a 7-year process and multiple studies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued a permit that would allow Greeley to build a 6-mile section of pipeline known as the Northern Segment.
The city plans to run the pipeline under the Poudre River and through open fields on private property south of the river.
Greeley officials plan to work with affected property owners during the coming months to get easements for the pipeline, said Eric Reckentine, deputy director of water resources for Greeley Water and Sewer.
Construction is expected to begin in late fall and last about a year and a half. The segment is expected to cost about $25 million.
But the fight over the pipeline is not over and could end up in court.
Rose Brinks, who lives off Overland Trail near the river and Lions Park, stated in an email to the Coloradoan that she will not allow her family’s historic farm to be “torn up for such a pipeline.”
Greeley could use eminent domain to get the rights of way it needs to build the project.
“We would prefer to negotiate with property owners,” Reckentine said.
Brinks and other affected property owners have contended for years that the project should be built along another route, such as under Larimer County Road 54G.
But Greeley officials say their preferred route would disrupt fewer properties and would not require the removal of homes. It also would not force monthslong construction closures on LaPorte’s main street.
As part of the process of getting the permit, Greeley had to do extensive studies on the environmental impact of the project and its potential effects on historic sites, such as a section of the old Greeley, Salt Lake and Pacific Railroad line on Brinks’ property.
Greeley plans to bore underground to get the pipeline through sensitive areas, Reckentine said…
The 30-mile pipeline project would run from Greeley’s water treatment plant near Bellvue to Gold Hill Reservoir west of the city. Two-thirds of the pipeline is complete and operating. The segment that runs through Fort Collins ends at Shields Street.
From The Greeley Tribune (Sherrie Peif):
After seven years of fights and headaches, Greeley officials can finally celebrate. The Army Corps of Engineers gave approval for the final 6-mile segment of the Bellvue Pipeline from the Fort Collins/LaPorte/Bellvue area.
The final addition, which runs from Shields Street in Fort Collins to the Bellvue Treatment Plant at the mouth of the Poudre Canyon, will complete the $80 million, 30-mile pipeline. It will have the capacity to deliver an additional 50 million gallons of water per day to Greeley, enough to satisfy the projected need of Greeley’s water customers for the next 50 years.
The city hit roadblocks every direction it turned with landowners worried about the impact on wildlife and historical structures, as well as noise and fumes and the other effects of construction.
Then, concern over the Preble jumping mouse habitat got in the way. Greeley was required to study the mouse habitat and any impacts under the State and National Historic Preservation Acts before the permit verification was issued.
There are still four property owners trying to hold up the process, said Eric Reckentine, deputy director of water resources for Greeley, but the city has the go-ahead for construction, which is expected to begin in the fall.
It will run under the originally proposed 28 different properties. The city could take any remaining land through eminent domain laws if it needs to.
“We’re still working through some issues with those landowners,” Reckentine said.
He did not know how much the city has spent in legal fees on the project.
Officials say the route is the least destructive. An alternative would have traveled under Main Street in LaPorte and under that town’s two schools. When completed, this will be only the second extension of water pipeline the city has done in 100 years.
The city, which since the 1950s has had two existing 27-inch pipelines through the town, has two-thirds of the 60-inch line built and some portions already in operation.
The line parallels about 65 percent of the city’s existing lines, but it will move through a portion of historically registered property along Overland Trail at the southern edge of LaPorte. Retired water director Jon Monson said in 2011 that the structures would be completely avoided by tunneling beneath them, roughly 18-20 feet for about 1,700 feet.
The city still needs some additional permits to increase the water capacity, but Reckentine said he was confident they would not be a problem.
“This is an important project for Greeley,” Reckentine said. “We are just glad we can begin construction.”
More infrastructure coverage here.