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Idaho Falls new water tower to start construction May 8

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Idaho Falls' current elevated water tower will be replaced. The new water tower will be built in the south corner of the parking lot of the Idaho Falls Public Library. The tower will around the same height, around 175 to 185 feet in the air.

The height will help the water system maintain its current pressure settings making the only change in the location and design of the new tower.

They anticipate the construction of the tower to last two construction seasons. This means by the fall of 2024 the City of Idaho Falls will have a new water tower.

"Parking, as always, has been one of the key factors that the city has been looking at. And the city has created a map of available parking spaces for people to hopefully utilize while the library is open during library hours," Idaho Falls water superintendent David Richards said.

Richards said construction will change the look of the Idaho Falls Public Library parking lot.

"We will modify the parking lot somewhat, being able to, I guess, adjust the way the landscaping currently sits. We will be able to reconfigure the parking lot with perhaps a loss, I believe, of one parking stall. By the time it's all said and done by current design standards, we should be able to salvage just about every parking stall that's currently here."

The new tower is expected to double the capacity of what the current water tower can do.

"The existing tower holds 500,000 gallons of water. The new ones are going to be double the capacity. So it'll hold a million gallons of water," Richards said.

Idaho Falls' current tower has stood since 1937, and after 86 years, reached the end of its life.

"It's anticipated their usual life is between 80 to 100 years. So that's what we anticipate this new tower to be a new landmark for the city of Idaho Falls, you know, for the next 80 to 100 years," Richards said.

Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors, out of Avon Indiana, won the bid to build the new tower. The cost of building the tower is estimated at $9 million and will be funded through the city water rates. Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors LLC were selected for one specific reason.

"We chose them due to their experience. Plus they were low-bid," Richards said.

The only concrete plan for the old water tower that has stood in Idaho Falls since 1937, the city doesn't have any concrete plans for it other than one thing.

"Unfortunately, the tower is going to have to come down. We are looking at maybe ways of preserving it, using pieces of metal and being able to give pieces of metal away, you know, from the roof or something like that as a souvenir or as something to remember it by. We're going to do our best to, in other ways, document it, make sure its existence is documented, and that we can preserve its, history," Richards said.

Construction will start on May 8. The process will be as follows, "Excavation will obviously be first. They're looking at doing the underground work, which is piping and everything like that. That goes below the foundation. The secondary would be the foundation, the concrete foundation for the water tower. Following the foundation work, they will be doing the concrete pedestal that supports the bowl. Once the concrete pedestal, once is completed, they will then start erecting the steel bowl. The bowl gets erected at ground level around the concrete pedestal, and then once it's nearly complete, gets jacked up to the top and welded in place," said Richards. He added, "And then the roof gets capped on at the very end and then comes paining sometimes they paint on ground level, sometimes they wait until it gets jacked up and then they paint it. They'll elevate it."

The southern end of the Library's parking lot will be closed off during the construction. You can find the city's parking plan during construction here.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8.


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