Crews enter final work stage of replacing massive Louisville water main installed in 1877

The year-long project is scheduled to complete in October.
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 5:58 PM EDT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Ulysses S. Grant was President when the Louisville Water Company installed a massive water main under Frankfort Avenue.

Almost a century and a half later, it is about to be replaced.

“It was put in the ground in 1877 and it lived a great life,” Louisville Water Communications VP Kelley Dearing Smith said. “144 years. But we needed to upgrade the water main to really help with the growing demands on our system.”

The year-long project is scheduled to come to an end in October.

Traffic on Frankfort Avenue, rerouted for months, reopened lanes in both directions 11 days earlier than expected.

Dan DeGeorge, owner of DeGeorge Guitars on Frankfort said he’s ready for the change after a long year of disruption.

”Tough for people to get here, no parking in front of our shop,” DeGeorge said. “For a while, there was a big wall in between there.”

While Frankfort Avenue may be open, down the street at the Crescent Hill Water Treatment Plant, the sounds of construction are still going strong.

”I still try to avoid it just because they’re changing things,” resident Mark Overdyk said. “And I never quite know what’s open or not.”

But the end is in sight for the $16 million year-long project to replace critical water mains near the Crescent Hill Water Treatment Plant. New 60-inch and 42-inch water mains will provide additional supply lines to move and reroute water.

One thing not disrupted during the project was the flow of water.

Crews managed to replace the massive pipe without the customers missing a drop.

”So while the old pipe had been in the ground for a long time a worked really well, it had broken,” Smith said. “And we know after a hundred, hundred and fifty years we had to replace the pipe. So it was time to upgrade the pipe.”

The final stages of construction will bring the installation of sidewalks and the planting of trees.