Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Water project impacts trees


It may have been a while since plans were formed to put in a new water line from Green River to Rock Springs, but the project is now underway.

With construction starting, residents on Railroad Avenue, were wondering what the city was doing and why plans were in place to remove several large pines from the property. This property is the grassy area located next to the Railroad Depot, often referred to as a park.

According to Mark Westenskow, the city’s public works director, back in 2013 the city of Rock Springs and the city of Green River looked at four options on where to locate the new waterline to Rock Springs. One of those options discussed and then later approved was the route along Railroad Avenue.

Westenskow said this option was picked because it had the least amount of impact to the streets and traffic. He said it had a lot of advantages and it was the shortest.

One of the disadvantages is the new line will run right through the trees, which is why they will need to be removed.

Westenskow said they looked at moving the line so the trees could be left, but there’s a fiber optic line running through that area too. Knowing this, the cities worked out an agreement. Rock Springs will replace the trees on a two-to-one basis.

According to Brad Raney, parks and recreation director, 14 trees will replace seven of those being taken out.

Ten of those, which are Autumn Splendor Chestnuts and Winter King Hawthornes, will be placed along Railroad Avenue, while four Nioibe Weeping Willows will be planted near the fence in front of the railroad.

Westenskow said the big trees in the back will be used as a way to screen the view of the railroad.

“It will create a little different feel to that park,” Westenskow said. “We’re trying to make the best out of it by having them put more trees in.”

Westenskow said since it’s been a couple of years since the project was discussed he understands why people might have forgotten what the project entailed.

Bryan Seppie, Joint Powers Water Board director engineer and planning, said the water pipeline to Rock Springs is a redundant supply to Rock Springs and is replacing the 20-inch AC line that’s beyond it’s useful life.

Seppie said the new pipeline in going in for two reasons -- capacity and redundancy. The added capacity will increase the plant’s ability to meet the needs of Rock Springs, which continues to grow and develop.

“It’s primarily driven by future needs,” Seppie said.

Not only will a new pipeline be installed, but some of the existing pipeline will be replaced. Seppie said a 30-inch steel line will replace a 50-year-old segment of pipe, which will account for about 4 miles of the project. After the old segment is replaced, the new line will parallel the existing pipeline, Seppie said. The old pipeline is on the north side on Interstate 80 and the new pipeline will run along the south side of Interstate 80. This project is paid for through sixth-penny sales tax funds.


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