Replacing Rockford's Aging Infrastructure

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Just days after an 80-year-old water main bursts on Rockford's west-side, the city's Public Works director shares his plan on how the department plans to replace aging water lines.

"That is a very old area, the Stanley Street Wellhouse was our first well house in the City of Rockford and there is still a lot of old pipe that is in that area of town,” said Public Works Director Tim Hanson.

On Wednesday night, the city replaced an 80-year-old pipe on the city's west side, and while the length of time a pipe can last varies, the city knows the older piping is reaching the end of its life cycle.

"If you get to the regular downtown area, you still have a lot of old pipe down there and that's where we've gone through looking for the leakage of the pipes and those are the areas we plan on replacing first,” Hanson said.

Over the next 30 years the city plans on replacing around 50% of the more than 800 miles of piping it has across the city, which has them focusing on how to complete these projects as financially efficient as possible.

"We're looking at plastic pipe and that is something that we haven't looked at before but plastic pipe is cheaper, it lasts forever and it's not like using metal pipes where they will wear out somewhere along the line,” said the city’s Public Works Director.

It’s not only what kind of pipe, but when the pipes can be replaced. That's why the city coordinates their projects with the engineering department’s upcoming road construction projects.

"As we get all of the streets done, all of that pipe will be new. It will be replaced as needed but it's a whole planning process moving forward,” added Hanson.

As the pipes are replaced the city expects to see less bursts in the future because the flexibility of the newer pipes will allow them to give a little more when the ground shifts. Hanson also says that when pipes burst, it's the city's goal to make sure residents have their water restored within the hour.

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