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Calgary water main repair could be done by July 5, city 'confident' in progress

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Repairs on the five 'hot spots' along a main water feeder line in Calgary could be done by July 5, just in time for the start of the Calgary Stampede, officials said Wednesday.

In its afternoon update on the water main break that has prompted restrictions for two weeks, city officials say they're growing "confident" the work will be done in two-and-a-half weeks.

"As we look at the work completed to date, specifically the excavations and exposing the five sections of pipe, we can now share we are aiming for the low end of our original timeline of three to five weeks, which would be July the fifth," said Michael Thompson, the city's general manager of infrastructure services.

After that, Thompson explained, the city will begin flushing the line and testing the water before city-wide restrictions can be eased.

Several sections of 16th Avenue N.W. have been fenced off to allow for excavation of the water main.

The five areas identified as being damaged have been found and crews have started cutting the concrete in anticipation of removing the compromised sections.

City officials also say materials for repairs are now in Calgary, with the arrival of two 24-foot sections of steel pipe arriving from San Diego early Wednesday.

"Preparation work includes sandblasting and then applying the epoxy coating," Thompson said, adding that the process would take about three days.

"We sourced this pipe from the San Diego County Water Authority as they are part of the existing municipal network that we use to share critical water infrastructure parts."

As the city eyes a possible completion date, some councillors are still looking for answers about how much this will all cost and how the city plans to inspect the rest of the feeder main.

"I think that's the whole reason we're all looking forward to that third party review – so that we can have some real fulsome answers, why they weren't inspected for so long and what it's going to cost to repair them," said Coun. Dan McLean.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said costs since the water main broke have been closely tracked, but an estimated price tag is not being released at this time.

The city has also been in contact with its federal and provincial counterparts, Gondek said.

"But the fact of the matter is that everything is moving so quickly and there are so many moving parts to this. So to provide an estimate (of costs) at this stage is difficult to do," she said.

The mayor will provide another update on Thursday morning before more officials join her for an update at 2 p.m.

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