A front-end loader dumps dirt into a pile on Seventh Street on Friday afternoon. Construction crews continued to work on the sewer line in the ally between Seventh and Eighth streets in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Photo by John F. Russell

A front-end loader dumps dirt into a pile on Seventh Street on Friday afternoon. Construction crews continued to work on the sewer line in the ally between Seventh and Eighth streets in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Downtown Steamboat sewer project is on schedule

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— Local business owners have reacted more favorably to the sewer project in the alley between Lincoln Avenue and Oak Street than they did to last year’s repaving of the city’s main thoroughfare, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said.

Barnett said some business owners on Lincoln Avenue’s north side were at first frustrated with the project, but have since cooled. She said it hasn’t caused the same headaches as the Lincoln Avenue project did.

“Nobody is grumbling more than I thought they were going to grumble,” Barnett said. “I think having had enough warning, they adapted really well. They figured out where to put the Dumpsters. They figured out how to get product delivered. … I think everyone’s getting along with it pretty well.”

The more than $1.1 million project to replace century-old clay sanitary sewer pipes with new pipes, while also installing a new storm sewer from 10th Street to Fourth Street, started May 16 and is expected to be complete Aug. 1.

“We’re pretty much right on schedule with the whole project,” Steamboat Public Works Director Philo Shelton said. “Obviously, we’ve had a good run of weather.”

Shelton said Native Excavating crews have reached Sixth Street. The project is being done two blocks at a time.

Barnett said Saturday’s Farmers Market, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., would remain on Sixth Street between Lincoln Avenue and Oak Street, but she said the market would move to Fifth Street on July 2. Depending on the construction, she said it could remain on Fifth Street on July 9 and 16.

Chad Whitmore, pipeline superintendent for Native Excavating, said so far there haven’t been any surprises or unexpected issues during construction. He praised the business owners for their understanding, which he said has helped the project run smoothly.

“We know it’s an inconvenience,” he said. “They’ve been excellent. So often you hear the complaints, but we’ve actually had quite a few people go out of their way to give us some compliments. That really is nice.”

The project is being paid for through an $11.9 million loan, bonds issued by the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority, to fund infrastructure projects during the next two to three years.

Shelton said other projects include a water main replacement at 13th Street that will take place this fall and construction of a 1 million gallon water storage tank for the west side of Steamboat next year.

The bonds will be repaid through revenue from the city’s utility fund, which includes a multiyear increase to water and sewer rates that the City Council approved in September, Steamboat Finance Director Deb Hinsvark said.

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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