Bayfield has secured a $1 million grant and a $2 million loan to replace thousands of feet of aging, asbestos-reinforced drinking water pipes.
The Colorado Department of Local Affairs Energy and Mineral Impact grant program awarded Bayfield the grant, which acts as match funding for the loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority. The town expects some traffic impacts from the pipe replacement project, which will span both sides of U.S. Highway 160 and will begin in 2020.
“We’re ecstatic about getting the $1 million grant,” said Chris La May, town manager. “I’m not going to say it hasn’t happened before, but definitely not with frequency.”
Staff and elected officials have been planning for the project for over a year, and they made a strong case in their grant application, La May said.
“I think it was very easy to walk in there and present our project on its merits because it’s a worthy project,” he said, referring to the town’s presentation to DOLA in November.
If all goes according to plan, construction crews will replace about 8,700 linear feet of old asbestos-reinforced water pipes from April to November. They will also replace about 1,100 linear feet of old PVC pipe.
The project will repair leaking pipes, keep outside contaminants from entering treated water through cracks, increase reliability and prepare for future population growth.
“If we can replace all this antiquated water line with more current state-of-the-art products ... we should be in pretty good shape,” La May said.
The town does not expect to raise water utility rates because of the project. Drivers should expect some traffic impacts along Mountain View Drive, an access point for two schools, and some areas south of U.S. Highway 160, like Bayfield Parkway. The construction will not close traffic on Highway 160 or affect the Schroeder irrigation ditch north of the highway.
Bayfield plans to pay the low, 2.5% interest loan off in 15 years. La May said the town had a better chance in the loan application because it could demonstrate oil and gas impacts, like wear from consistent heavy equipment on roads. The $1 million grant match also strengthened the town’s case.
Now, Bayfield is finalizing documents, like contracts and engineering plans. Town staff expects to advertise for contractors in January and February through a bidding process.