City’s Utilities Departments Join Forces on Hermiston Avenue Project

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A Hermiston Water Department crew replaces a valve from 1911 at the intersection of Hermiston Avenue and Southwest Fourth Street in Hermiston. The valve replacement work comes ahead of a resurfacing project set to begin Aug. 5. (City of Hermiston photo)

The city of Hermiston’s water, recycled water and street departments are teaming up on a Capital Improvements Plan project to upgrade Hermiston Avenue.

A contractor will begin resurfacing Hermiston Avenue from Southwest First Street to Southwest 10th Street on Monday, Aug. 5, so the water department used the opportunity to install eight new valves under the road, including a replacement for an inoperative 108-year-old mainline valve near the Southwest Fourth Street intersection.

The new valves will allow the water department to shut off water strategically in case of a leak in the area, limiting the impact on residents and businesses. The work required help from the street department to cut the asphalt and the recycled water department to remove excess water flowing from the broken valve.

“By doing the work now, before the road is re-paved, we’re saving a lot of time and effort,” said Roy Bicknell, Hermiston water superintendent. “It was a great team effort by all the departments and I appreciate their help to get it done.”

The Hermiston Avenue project is part of the Capital Improvements Plan, a comprehensive strategy approved by the Hermiston City Council that identifies high priority utility and street upgrades, sets aside funding and coordinates a long-range schedule for all the departments.

“The Capital Improvements Plan has helped our departments align their work, making us more efficient,” said Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan. “Ultimately, that saves taxpayers and ratepayers money and allows us to upgrade utilities at a faster pace.”

Work on Hermiston Avenue will resume following the Umatilla County Fair Parade on Saturday. Beginning Monday, Aug. 5, traffic will be limited to one lane between Southwest Third Street and Southwest 10th Street.

Hermiston Avenue will be closed completely between Southwest First Street and Southwest Third Street from Aug. 11 through the end of September for a major overhaul. Businesses will remain open during the work.