The digging has begun in the Sellwood water main replacement project...but now they've hit boulders

DAVID F. ASHTON - Contractors working on the S.E. Lambert and 19th Sellwood Water Main Replacement Project had to create a plan to break up, and remove, large buried boulders they found in the ground under the pavement along the S.E. 19th Avenue right-of-way. As BEE readers have learned, and as residents in the construction area of the "S.E. Lambert and 19th Sellwood Water Main Replacement Project" are already experiencing, the Portland Water Bureau (PWB) has begun the replacement of water mains originally installed back in 1927.

Construction on the project will replace just under a mile of aging pipe along Lambert Street and 19th Avenue.

In July, contractors started at the east end of the project, along S.E. 19th Avenue, primarily between Umatilla and Marion Streets.

"We appreciate the 'heads up' about this project we saw in THE BEE," a neighbor remarked to us while we were out photographing the work underway. "But my question is, 'Why all the jack-hammering underground, after they already broke open the pavement?'"

For the answer, THE BEE turned to PWB Public Information Officer Jaymee Cuti.

"Our contractor found some very large rocks in the trenches they dug to install the pipe," Cuti reported. "Some of these large rocks must be broken up in order to move them out of the way. This will add a little more noise to the project, and makes our work a little slower, as we clear the way for the new pipe."

Streets will be closed during work hours — Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., and detours will be in place then," Cuti reminded. "For limited local access, please talk with a member of our crew before driving into a work zone — we want to keep you and your vehicle safe!"

We'll continue to report as this lengthy project advances. But, to learn more now about the project, and to sign up for project updates, go online —

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