From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Jakob Rodgers):
The last 50-foot pipe of the 50-mile-long Southern Delivery System arrived at a construction site Wednesday, marking a key milestone for the project as it nears completion next year both on time and under budget.
“We put to rest a lot of doubters that we’d get this done,” said Lionel Rivera, Colorado Springs’ former mayor, who helped approve the project.
With Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” playing in the background, a truck hauled the massive blue pipe to a site just south of Pikes Peak International Raceway. Crews will place it underground in the coming weeks, completing a system spanning from Pueblo Reservoir to a new water treatment facility in Colorado Springs, which is under construction.
More than 7,000 of the steel, 66-inch-diameter pipes were installed since in 2010. That included a mile-long stretch bored 85 feet below Interstate 25 – a tunnel that was $10 million cheaper than creating a surface trench, according to Colorado Springs Utilities.
Current and former elected officials from across southern Colorado, along with several contractors who have worked on the project, were among scores of people on hand to watch the pipe being delivered. Many signed their names on it.
“It’s great – we’ve been at this a long time,” said John Fredell, the Southern Delivery System’s program director. “It’s a wonderful, wonderful day to celebrate.”
Three pump stations and the treatment facility are expected to be completed this year, with the system up and running for customers in Colorado Springs by the first quarter of 2016, Fredell said.
The project is on track to cost $841 million, below Colorado Springs City Council’s approved budget of $880 million in 2009, which did not account for inflation or rising material costs. The council also serves as Utilities’ board. Those savings rise to about $150 million when factoring in the cost of inflation and increases in material costs, said Fredell, who credited design changes to the pipeline and water treatment facility for much of the savings.
From the Denver Business Journal (Cathy Proctor):
One of the biggest water projects in the western U.S. will hit a major milestone this month, when the last piece of 50 miles of pipe is laid for the Southern Delivery System, the $841 million project to bring new water supplies to Colorado Springs and nearby communities.
The project includes 50 miles of pipeline, three pump stations and a water treatment plant. It will deliver water from the Pueblo Reservoir to Colorado Springs, Fountain, Security and Pueblo West.
More than 7,000 sections of blue-colored, welded, steel pipe 50 feet long and most of it 66 inches in diameter were installed on the project during the last 3 1/2 years of construction.
The project spent $204 million on pipe and installation, according to the Colorado Springs Utilities.
“The pipe is the main artery for this water project and we are extremely pleased with how the pipeline construction went,” said John Fredell, the program director for the Southern Delivery System project.
The project is in the final year of construction and Fredell said the costs are expected to be nearly $150 million under the original budget…
Northwest Pipe (Nasdaq: NWPX), based in Vancouver, Washington, manufactured the SDS pipe at its Denver plant.
Three contractors installed the pipe, Garney Construction, headquartered in Kansas City with an office in Littleton; ASI/HCP Contractors of Pueblo West; and the heavy civil division of Layne, a construction firm based in The Woodlands, Texas, which has four offices in Colorado.
Construction is continuing on other elements of the Southern Delivery System project, including a $125-million water treatment plant and pump station that will have the capacity to treat and pump 50 million gallons of water per day. Three pump stations will help move water uphill, about 1,500 feet in elevation, from the Pueblo Reservoir, also are under construction.
Construction on the remaining portions of the project are expected to be finished by the end of 2015.
From KRDO (Rana Novini):
Community leaders gathered Wednesday to celebrate the completion of pipeline construction for the Southern Delivery System (SDS). The project consists of more than 7,000 50-foot sections of steel pipe that have been installed over the last three and a half years. The pipe will transport water stored in the Pueblo Reservoir north to Pueblo West, Fountain, Security and Colorado Springs.
“It’s taken many years and it’s taken many city councils and it’s taken many leaders and many workers to accomplish this,” said Colorado Springs City Councilman Merv Bennett. “Our friends to the south, the Lord gave them the Arkansas River as their delivery system. To the north, Denver has the South Platte River as their delivery system. We have Fountain Creek and we ran out of that water in 1912.”
Proponents of the SDS argue the pipeline will ensure Colorado Springs and surrounding areas can continue to grow, especially toward eastern El Paso County. The region will have to worry less about drought and watering restrictions.
“Water is important. It’s the lifeline of a community,” said Lionel Rivera, former mayor of Colorado Springs. “It’s the way you grow and I think we’ve ensured the water supply for at least the next 50 years.”
Rivera was mayor from 2003 until 2011 and helped get the project rolling. He said Tuesday that it was one of the most rewarding things he did as mayor.
“It’s very exciting, a little bit emotional to see that pipe,” Rivera said. “It just made me think of all the stuff we had to go through to get this approved. We were told back when we started it that it couldn’t get done from a political standpoint, but we proved the doubters wrong.”
The project has had opponents over the years, many from Pueblo who are concerned over stormwater issues.
Though pipeline construction is complete, workers still need to build water treatment plants and pump stations. The first drop of water is expected to be delivered in spring 2016.
From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):
Construction crews are poised to lay the final pipeline link for Colorado’s biggest water project in decades — an $841 million uphill diversion from the Arkansas River to enable population growth in Colorado Springs and other semi-arid Front Range cities.
Eleven 2,000-plus horsepower pumps driven by coal-fired power plants will propel the water from a reservoir near Pueblo through a 50-mile pipeline with an elevation gain of 1,500 feet.
This is the first phase, moving up to 50 million gallons a day, for a Southern Delivery System that utility officials estimated will eventually cost $1.5 billion.
“It means we will have greater water security,” Colorado Springs utilities spokeswoman Janet Rummel said. “Businesses need water. Our communities need water to survive. It means we can continue to serve our population as it grows.”
Water challenges loom across Colorado, with state officials projecting a 163 billion-gallon shortfall. A few years ago, drought forced Colorado Springs to stop watering municipal parkways and gardens.
The diverted water can be used only within the Arkansas River Basin, officials said, ruling out sales to south Denver suburbs. And the river water, after treatment, must be returned to downstream farmers.
Colorado Springs residents have been paying for the project through water bills, which increased by 52 percent over four years. Utility officials spent $475 million from bonds.
The water will flow by next March, officials said. At full buildout, the system will store water in two new reservoirs east of Colorado Springs.
From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
The Southern Delivery System pipeline’s completion was marked by a contingent of El Paso County officials and a smattering of Pueblo County folks as well.
For John Bowen, president of ASI Constructors of Pueblo West, the SDS project has meant bread on the table as well as water in the pipes.
“It’s generated $50 million in contract values for our company,” Bowen said during a ceremony to mark completion of the SDS pipeline from Pueblo Dam to Colorado Springs. “We were able to grow as a business during a time when a lot of contractors were laying people off.”
ASI was the primary contractor for the connection at Pueblo Dam, as well as 12 miles of the 50-mile SDS pipeline route, and relied on 70 local businesses for support services. The SDS project generated $800,000 in wages for ASI workers.