Road Construction begins next week on 5th Street in Missoula


MISSOULA, Mont. - Workers begin June 30 th and they will wrap up the project on August 15th. Mountain Water Company is replacing a 100 year old water main with a new one. After the main is replaced, the city will re-asphalt that stretch of 5th Street. Nearby residents told us they are relieved the old water main is getting replaced.

Mountain water is doing all the repairs.

We have been tracking the sale of this major urban utility. But one critical point about the sale is the massive work the system needs in repairs.

Mountain Water Company has been replacing pipes throughout Missoula. After finding out that the city was going to be reconstructing Fifth Street, the water company decided to fix the water main in that area.

"They were planning to basically overlay all of fifth street and so we tried to plan with them. We don't want to put a new street over an old pipe," said Logan McInnis, Chief Engineer at Mountain Water Company.

Mountain Water coordinates repairs about one year in advance with city projects.

Logan McInnis showed NBC Montana what the 100-year old pipe looks like.

"This is not from Fifth Street but it's the same basic type and age of pipe," said McInnis.

Although McInnis explains that they don't know of any leaks under Fifth Street it was time to repair the old pipe. Back in September mountain water explained that there have been leaks in pipes under other streets around Missoula.

"We have to chase down the leaks," said John Kappes, Mountain Water Company President.

And each one is expensive. A separate project on Broadway and Madison was going to cost close to $800,000. The project on Fifth Street is going to cost around $485,000.

NBC Montana did the math and figured that the total cost of repairing all of mountain water's infrastructure at one time would cost around $128,000,000, but the company has said it plans to update the system gradually, spending about $4,000,000 a year on upgrades.