San Jacinto River Authority water line project progresses into Oak Ridge North

The San Jacinto River Authority water line project is making its way into the Oak Ridge North area after more than a year of winding its way south from Lake Conroe through The Woodlands.

The project is a part of strategic partnerships formed between several Montgomery County entities and the SJRA to meet a 30 percent groundwater use reduction requirement from the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District.

Pipeline construction leading to road closures in The Woodlands along Grogan's Mill Road between Research Forest Drive and South Millbend Drive has been completed, with a few exceptions, SJRA officials said.

Over the June 7 weekend, SJRA closed portions of Research Forrest Drive and Grogan's Mill Road located near The Woodlands High School, Hailey Elementary School, Knox Junior High School, and Wilkerson Intermediate School. Groundwater Reduction Plan administrator Mark Smith estimated pipeline construction in The Woodlands should be complete by late August.

Unlike in The Woodlands, though, construction in Oak Ridge North will not lead to road closures, Smith said.

"In the Oak Ridge area, we are going to be [installing pipeline in] existing utility easements or along drainage ditches, so we are not going to close the roads," Smith said. "Our impact is going to be much less [than in The Woodlands], and that's a good thing."

He said construction in Oak Ridge North should progress quicker because crews will not have to re-install pavement as they have in areas of The Woodlands.

Oak Ridge North construction has begun along utility easements and will continue until the expected completion date of March 2015, Smith said.

While the pipeline is scheduled to be installed underground, the project may affect Oak Ridge North residents as construction crews assemble the pipeline above ground, ORN Director of Public Works Joe Sherwin said.

"When they lay out even 1,000 feet of water line, they have to piece the pipe together before it goes in the hole, so they have to lay all that line out," Sherwin said. "So if it goes over a driveway, how does that person get out? It's a temporary thing until [workers] get the pipe pushed down in there, but some of the driveways may get blocked."

Oak Ridge North officials said they will host a series of town hall meetings to inform residents about the construction project as it reaches their neighborhoods.

"It's going to be in the front yard of a good number of our citizens on Maplewood Drive and again on Robinson Road," City Manager Vicky Rudy said. "We want to keep them as informed as possible. Personally, I feel their pain in advance. It's emotional to have that stuff in front of your house if you take pride in your home like they do in Oak Ridge North."


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