Smooshed by snow — conduit to be replaced

Michael Raffety / Mountain Democrat

El Dorado Irrigation District’s large diameter riveted and welded pipes hanging onto a hillside at the 7,500-foot elevation and above Highway 50 will be replaced on an emergency basis.

EID engineer Jon Money said new pipeline needed to be built before winter further damages it and risks flooding Highway 50.

At Monday’s meeting of EID’s Board of Directors Syblon Reid was selected to do the emergency work at a cost not to exceed $1,117,000.

An El Dorado Irrigation District pipeline on up-country slopes along Highway 50 was flattened by winter’s heavy snowload.
Provided / EID

The Echo Conduit was built in the late 1800s. The pipeline was built in the 1920s.

It is 2,290 feet of 36-inch welded steel pipe and 758 feet of earthen canal and tunnel.

With the recent winter of record snow, about 12 feet of snow fell on the welded steel pipe, flattening 400 feet and displacing another 200 feet.

The Echo Conduit provides 1,943 acre-feet of water from Echo Lake for consumptive use and hydroelectric production.

Syblon Reid will replace the old flattened and displaced pipe with new pipe and replace the wooden braces with concrete and steel ones.

The work will not require helicopter delivery, according to Money, although access will be from above.

With the addition of a 10% contingency of $120,000 and engineering services of $75,000, the total project costs of $1,312,000 was approved unanimously July 24 by the EID Board of Directors.

The 10-inch steel frame supports will be anchored into the rock on the 200-foot section that was displaced. The 400-foot section of flattened and cracked pipe replacement will be supported with anchored concrete blocks.

Syblon Reid said the 400-foot section will take 23 days and the 200-foot section 18 days. Syblon Reid will build two crane pads above the pipeline.

The total pipeline is 1,040 feet of 36-inch conduit.

Money estimates the total work time will be 23 days. The schedule calls for procurement and delivery of the pipe by August, construction to begin after Labor Day and completion by October.

A July 20 site visit was conducted with the district insurer, Association of County Water Agencies Joint Powers Insurance Agency.

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