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Construction to begin on new water tower in Idaho Falls

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - City of Idaho Falls officials announced construction of the new elevated water tower will begin the end of April. The new water tower has a larger one million gallon capacity and will be constructed over two years. 

The water tower is essential for the operation of the entire portable water system for the city, providing essential water pressure within the system for the multiple wells that supply fresh water to residents. The water tower also provides a reliable source of stored, pressurized water for critical purposes such as continuity of service during power outages and water storage for firefighting. 

Built in 1937, the current 500,000 gallon water tower, located at Idaho Falls Power, will remain standing and operational to maintain a pressurized system until construction of the new tower is complete. 

Contractors have planned for an aggressive work schedule to expedite the project. During active construction, personnel and project contractors will meet weekly to communicate updates, hear concerns, and work through potential challenges. Property owners and other stakeholders adjacent to the tower are welcome to attend those meetings. The dates, times, and locations for the regular meetings will be communicated to the adjacent property owners and posted on the water tower webpage in the coming weeks. 

Over the past few years, city officials have worked closely with various stakeholders, including adjacent property owners, the Idaho Falls Public Library, and the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation regarding various aspects of the project, including construction plans, impacts, and downtown parking concerns. 

While the parking stalls on the south side of the library parking lot will be unusable during construction, additional library parking has been identified and will be signed accordingly. Shared parking stalls are also available around the library.  

parking map was created to serve as a guide for motorists during construction. The map is available online and will be made available in printed format inside the library and other adjacent commercial properties. Parking and directional signage, to include QR codes, will be added around the library to assist motorists with parking.

Those who do not have transportation to and from the library or prefer not to drive are encouraged to use the City of Idaho Falls’ GIFT On-Demand rideshare service by downloading the GIFT On-Demand mobile app or by calling 208-999-GIFT (4438). 

City officials began considering replacing the aging water tower in 2008 after a study to evaluate the structural integrity of the tower revealed that the tower had met its expected design life and required upgrading to a new structure to meet current building standards and seismic requirements. 

Recognizing the structural deficiencies, capacity restraints, and the needs of our growing community, city officials included the replacement of the elevated water tower in the 2015 Water Facility Plan. The $8.9 million project is funded through already-established water rates. 

In April 2018, city officials began making additional preparations for a new water tower by conducting a public outreach campaign and researching potential locations on city-owned property near the original site. 

Structural design options were researched with goals of constructing a water tower that would be built to current building standards, cost less to maintain, and have a higher water storage capacity. City leadership also felt it was a priority for the tower to have a smaller footprint with less impact to neighboring properties. 

In December 2021, the Idaho Falls City Council, with the full support of the Library Board, unanimously voted to approve the construction of the new elevated water tower in the parking lot of the Idaho Falls Public Library. The engineering feasibility work concluded that the library site was suitable for the new water tower. The majority of the stakeholders in the immediate vicinity of the library expressed positive feedback for siting the water tower at the library. 

“We appreciate all of the research, hard work, time and dedication that has been put into this project so far and look forward to continuing that work as we move into the next phase,” Idaho Falls Public Works Director Chris Fredericksen said.  

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls

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