Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fenced In

As the Austin Water Utility begins its job replacing water lines on Sycamore and Cherrywood this week, they were kind enough to fence off the butterfly garden. Hopefully that will protect it from any roving trucks and workers.

The butterflies won't mind at all - you can't fence them in! Unfortunately, it will make viewing and watering plants challenging. Too bad, because this Spring the butterfly garden is finally blooming away!

More details on the AWU project:
Dolly, Girard and Lee met with the Austin Water Utility to discuss what impact, if any, their project would have on the Willowbrook Reach greenbelt. Here's what we learned:

- First, the managers and crew for this project are really responsive. I give them big points for wanting to speak with us and all coming out to the reach to hear and respond to our concerns.

- The current water lines under the roads are only 2 inches in diameter and filled with gunk. The new lines will be 6 or 8 inches wide. This project should decrease the pipe breaks that are always happening around Sycamore.

- The project will happen in 4 phases, starting the week of Apri25. 1) Water line replacement on Cherrywood from 38.5 to Sycamore. 2) Replacement on Sycamore from Cherrywood to 38.5. 3) Intersection work at Cherrywood and 38.5. 4) Intersection work at Sycamore and 38.5. The whole project should take about 90 days.

- They will be installing a silt fence about three feet into the grass all along the length of Sycamore. They will install a fence around the butterfly garden for protection. They will place stakes and fence around the small trees recently planted by FLWR along Sycamore.

- They will need to store some gravel and pipes and park some vehicles along this three foot swath of grass. It will get messed up. Thus, at the end of the project they will be reseeding that 3 foot swath of grass with some grass mix (called hydro-mulch). The resulting grass will be comparable to what's there now.

- Once the project is finished they will be moving the silt fence to the outer edge of the greenbelt, right at the pavement, to protect this new growing grass from car parkers.

- As part of the project (the only part that goes into the greenbelt area), they will be removing one of the water pipes crossing the creek. It's the western most pipe. They will saw it off on both ends and simply lift it away, as it will no longer be in use after this project. There should not be any significant digging or other destruction of the banks. (The other two pipe crossings, by the way, are wastewater!)

All in all, this is a low impact project on the Reach. It will be ugly to have that orange fencing up there. As the project proceeds, they will notify neighbors 48 hours in advance of any water shut offs.

If there are any environmental problems that arise during the project, and there is a threat to the reach and the creek, please contact me. More importantly, contact Joe Davila, project coordinator, at 972-0737.

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