Photo by Ann McCreary
Jake Dial (left), an engineer with Varela & Associates, discussed plans for water line and street improvements in the northeast part of Twisp with neighborhood residents during a community meeting last week at the Methow Valley Community Center.

Will provide new pavement, water lines, sidewalks

By Ann McCreary

Construction crews will begin tearing up the pavement on several streets in the northeast part of Twisp next week when work begins on a $1.2 million water and street upgrade project that will continue through September.

More than 20 residents and business owners who will be affected by the project attended a community meeting last week to learn more about the project and ask questions of town officials and engineers.

The “Downtown Improvement Project” will entail removing pavement, replacing aging water lines with larger lines to improve water pressure and fire flow, installing new sidewalks and pathways, and repaving.

Segments of six streets east of Twisp’s downtown area — a little over one-half mile of streets — will be impacted by the construction and temporary closures. They include Second Avenue east of Glover Street, Methow Street, the lower part of Third Avenue, Twisp Avenue, Lincoln Street and North Glover Street.

The work will begin July 9 when contractors bring in equipment to pulverize pavement in the construction area, a noisy process that should take two or three days, said Jake Dial, an engineer with Varela and Associates, an engineering firm hired by Twisp to design and manage the project.

Residents and business owners should expect disruptions to traffic and water service during the project, said Dial. “It will be a pain in the butt, there’s no way around it,” he said. “It will be an inconvenience.”

Although streets will be closed to general traffic, they will remain open to local access by residents, said Andrew Denham, Twisp public works director. He said access to the Wagner Memorial swimming pool in Twisp Town Park will be maintained during the project.

When new water pipes are being installed, there will be brief interruptions of water service, lasting less than 24 hours. Residents will be given 24-hour notice of the interruptions by personal visits or notices hung on their doors, Denham said.

Two crews will be working four days a week; one crew replacing water lines and the other crew on streets. All water meters will be replaced with new automated “radio read” meters, and water pressure in homes will improve, Denham said. The project is expected to wrap up at the end of September when repaving is completed.

Denham said this part of Twisp was chosen for improvements because of aging, undersized water lines and deteriorating pavement on local streets. The project addresses both issues, he said. The town received $500,000 in grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agricultural Rural Development program for the water line upgrade and $771,000 from the state Transportation Improvement Board for the street work.