$60,000 emergency project approved

Damage stemming from an early-February storm has prompted Coupeville town officials to replace part of a water main along Madrona Way.

The storm occurred the first weekend of February. The 75-mph wind gusts and high tides damaged beach communities, downed trees and knocked out power to thousands of Whidbey Island residents over Super Bowl weekend.

On Madrona Way, the storm toppled a large fir tree that was growing next to the roadway. The tree is currently lying on the beach below Madrona Way.

When the tree fell, it exposed a portion of the water main. Because there isn’t support left underneath the main, town officials are worried the pipe could rupture and the water pressure could cause erosion to the bluff and roadway.

“Right now, our concern is to get the line bypassed,” said Malcolm Bishop, town public works director.

To fix the problem, the Coupeville Town Council approved a $60,000 emergency project to replace the water main from Sherman Road to where the county recently replaced part of the county roadway. By declaring an emergency, the town could find a contractor to start work immediately rather than going through the bidding process.

Workers from Ed’s Construction, the Coupeville-based contractor hired to complete the project, started laying a new line last week. The new line is going in on the landward side of Madrona Way, which should avoid future problems with the bluff.

Bishop said he hopes all 1,700 feet of pipe will be installed this week. He wants to see it done before forecasted rain returns next week.

As for the old main, it will remain buried on the north side of Madrona Way. Bishop said it is better to leave it alone and not risk damaging the bluff and trees.

Bishop said the town has money budgeted every year for such emergency expenses that may come up.

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