A water line improvement project will close southbound Coolidge Highway between 13 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue for approximately six weeks. Throughout the project, the inside lane of southbound Coolidge between 13 Mile and 14 Mile roads will face intermittent closures.

A water line improvement project will close southbound Coolidge Highway between 13 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue for approximately six weeks. Throughout the project, the inside lane of southbound Coolidge between 13 Mile and 14 Mile roads will face intermittent closures.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik


Coolidge to close for water line work

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published September 12, 2018

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ROYAL OAK — Southbound Coolidge Highway was set to close between 13 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue for six weeks beginning Sept. 10, after press time, due to a water line improvement project.

The $1.2 million Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority project will rehabilitate a 16-inch transmission main that runs beneath the Coolidge Highway median from 13 Mile to 14 Mile roads. It is set to be completed Nov. 17.

Throughout the project, one lane of southbound Coolidge Highway will be closed between 13 Mile and 14 Mile roads. Northbound Coolidge Highway will not be affected by the project.

Jeff McKeen, general manager of SOCWA, said the cast-iron pipe was installed in 1953 and is bolted together every 16 feet. While it has not started to have maintenance problems yet, he said the bolts have rusted on other similar pipes in the area, resulting in small leaks.

The project will use technology to line the existing pipe without having to dig a trench all the way from 13 Mile to 14 Mile roads. Instead, crews will dig four pits and pull a liner pipe into place.

While the liner pipe is pulled into place, there will be short periods of time when some of the median crossovers on Coolidge Highway will be closed.

McKeen said SOCWA put out a request for proposals and Murphy Pipeline Contractors, out of Jacksonville, Florida, was both the lowest bidder and offered the compression-fit sliplining technology.

“This is the first time it’s being tried in the state of Michigan in a pipe this big,” McKeen said. “It minimizes the disruption to residents and traffic, and it should be quicker and easier for everybody. We also think it’s technically superior.”

He added that SOCWA officials wanted to wait until after Labor Day, when water demands are lower, to begin the project.

Fred Smith, superintendent of Murphy Pipeline Contractors, said his company uses high-density polyethylene pipe, which expands to fit snugly against the inside of the existing pipe, and that the 20-foot pieces of pipe fuse together to create one solid length of pipe.

“We dig a pit at one end and another pit at the other end and use our equipment to pull a stretch of pipe through,” he said. “It saves the impact on the environment.”

Smith estimated that the process extends the life of a pipe by 100 years.

Royal Oak City Engineer Matthew Callahan said that the city approved the concept and plans for the project and worked with SOCWA to provide traffic controls and staging.

With approximately 25,000 vehicles traveling on both Coolidge Highway and 13 Mile Road daily, Callahan said motorists could expect traffic congestion in the area.

“People going through that area will have to find another area to move around,” he said. “We hope to finish this fall or later on in early spring.”

For more information, visit www.socwa.org or call (248) 288-5150.

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