2 Columbia Water and Light consider water main replacement project

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COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia hopes to start a project to improve the water supply to MU's Women's and Children's Hospital. 

Columbia Water and Light hosted a meeting Thursday to share plans for a water main replacement project and to gather community feedback.

The water main is located at Portland and Lansing Streets. The water supply services the hospital, surrounding commercial buildings and some residential neighborhoods in the area.

The project first began after the University of Missouri approached the city wanting to redo its water service affecting Women's and Children's hospital.  

Huebert Builders Inc. owner Susan Hart said the water main is directly in front of her building. She said even though she's concerned about the construction's impact on traffic flow, she thinks the project is necessary. 

"It’s probably a very old water line," she said. "I’ve owned that building for almost 20 years and there has not been a water main improvement. It’s time for it."

Columbia Water and Light engineer Kenneth Strodtman said the cast iron pipes on both streets have not been changed since the early to mid 1970's.

"Across the city we are seeing increased maintenance history with similar types of pipes," he said. "Replacing the pipes with polyvinyl chloride pipes will make them resistant to corrosion and more reliable."

Strodtman said the construction would improve more than water supply.

"I think it’s going to be a great benefit for the community and not only for the university to increase their level of service. We’re actually increasing pipe size at the same time and that will provide higher level of fire protection."

The main concerns the city expects to hear from the community are about convenience and water outages.

Strodtman said the project still needs approval from Columbia's City Council. He said if approved, there will be a couple of outages to reroute the water supply for the area through the new pipes. The city will also work on both streets at the same time to decrease the impact on traffic flow.

Strodtman said, "The area is not experiencing any problems with their water. We’re not trying to fix problems that are out there. We’re trying to prevent them."