San Jacinto River Authority prepares for new pipeline construction in ORN

Oak Ridge North residents living along parts of Robinson Road, Maplewood Drive and Oak Ridge Grove will begin to see San Jacinto River Authority water pipeline construction along their front yards starting in January.

The SJRA is preparing to begin an estimated six months of construction in January along the Oak Ridge North roads, as the agency aims to close out pipeline construction in time to begin delivering water in summer 2015, SJRA spokeswoman Ronda Trow said.

Unlike previous pipeline construction within the city that took place mainly along the Kinder-Morgan pipeline easement, which runs east under I-45 and Hanna Road, and other drainage ditches, the Maplewood Drive area construction is expected to lead to some traffic delays and affect area residents, Trow said.

"Robinson Road will maintain two-way traffic, but you can expect some traffic delays due to heavy equipment," Trow said. "Maplewood will allow through southbound traffic during the duration of the project. The northbound lane, however, will be blocked to accommodate construction in a rolling fashion as construction progresses along Maplewood."

The effect of construction on the roads and residents will be mitigated to a degree through the use of trenchless construction, which Groundwater Reduction Plan Administrator Mark Smith said has the smallest possible effect on the neighborhood.

"What we are going to be using is called horizontal directional drilling," Smith said. "Basically what they do is they will have a pit at either end, and they will drill a tunnel rather than cut the street up and make a trench. Then they will grab on to the pipe and pull it through the tunnel."

The SJRA will have visible detour signs displayed in the area prior to construction, and the contractor is required to put door hangers on homes or businesses to alert residents of the construction, Trow said.

Vicky Rudy, city manager for Oak Ridge North, said that while the city does not oversee the project, they will represent the residents during construction.

"As with all construction, it is inconvenient and messy for a while so we ask for patience and understanding," Rudy said. "We encourage patience and understanding until we get through the project. The end result is something that is beneficial for the city. We will be here to represent our citizens as we go."

Normal construction hours are set between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., and contractors are required to maintain access for residents to their homes during those hours, Trow said.


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