The city of San Luis Obispo will soon begin work to replace an aged water main on Johnson Avenue between Iris and Lizzie streets that disrupted water service when it broke last year.
The San Luis Obispo City Council approved a $194,000 contract awarded to John Madonna Construction of San Luis Obispo to do the work, which is expected to begin in July and be done sometime in the fall. The 16-inch cast iron pipe that will be replaced broke in May 2010, leaving French Hospital Medical Center and more than 1,000 customers without water for more than 16 hours.
The 55-year-old pipe was repaired, but because of its age, it needs to be replaced, said Barbara Lynch, city engineer. The road will also be repaired.
“The break was powerful enough that it undermined the roadway,” Lynch said. “We will repair the road and fill the voids under the pavement where underlying soil was removed.”
French Hospital will also gain an additional water connection. The hospital is paying the $12,000 cost for the new connection.
The May break forced hospital workers to rely on gallons of bottled water and portable toilets. A dozen elective surgeries were canceled.
An estimated 2.2 million gallons of water was lost during the break.
“Because there are two water lines in that area, we are able to provide a connection to the other line,” Lynch said. “That way if one goes down for service, then the hospital can switch over and get water from the other one.”
The same pipe also caused flooding when it broke in March in a different spot, at California Boulevard. A sewer line replacement project will take place at the same time at San Luis Drive near Johnson Avenue.
That project, Lynch said, will replace a sewer line that runs under the railroad from Pismo Street to Johnson.