Jason Olson, Deseret News
Tony Adams works on a section of pipe at Northwest Pipe Co. in Pleasant Grove Friday. It will be part of the Spanish Fork Canyon water pipeline.

SPANISH FORK — Construction crews began groundwork Monday for a massive pipeline up Spanish Fork Canyon that will significantly increase the amount of water delivered to the Wasatch Front.

Work crews from Springville-based construction company W.W. Clyde & Co. started excavating land on the northeast shoulder of U.S. 6 in Spanish Fork Canyon to make way for an 8-foot-wide pipeline that will extend 2.3 miles down the canyon from the Diamond Fork pipeline. The $24.2 million pipeline is part of a project that will eventually import an additional 60,000 acre-feet of water per year to Utah and Salt Lake counties.

Central Utah Water Conservancy commissioned W.W. Clyde & Co. to build the first phase of the Spanish Fork Canyon pipeline as part of the Central Utah Project Completion Act — a plan to develop central Utah's water resources. The Spanish Fork pipeline will facilitate the flow of water to the Utah Lake Drainage Basin from Strawberry Reservoir, which is located in the Uinta Basin.

Senior Project Manager Randy Lingwall said the pipeline will increase water accessibility, but it also will decrease erosion in riverbeds — such as Diamond Fork Creek and Spanish Fork Creek — which is caused by spring runoff.

"By putting (the water) in the pipeline, they're mitigating the high/low fluctuations of the river," he said.

Utah and Salt Lake counties currently import 30,000 and 65,000 acre-feet of water per year respectively, said Chris Finlinson, governmental affairs director for the Central Utah Water Conservancy District. With the completion of the pipeline, an additional 30,000 acre-feet of water will be imported into each county.

Jeff Clyde of W.W. Clyde & Co. said the company hopes to finish the first phase of the Spanish Fork pipeline by the end of November 2009.

Work crews started digging the trench earlier this week, and they will begin assembling the 2.3-mile line using 40-foot long pieces of cement-mortar-lined steel pipe that will be trucked into the canyon from Northwest Pipe Co. in Pleasant Grove, Clyde said. The first phase will connect to the Diamond Fork pipeline, near Diamond Fork Creek, and will extend to Covered Bridge.

The next leg of the project, which is slated to begin in 2009, will run 4.7 miles and will branch into three pipelines — the Mapleton-Springville pipeline, the Spanish Fork-Provo pipeline and the Spanish Fork-Santaquin pipeline — at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon.

Clyde said the work crew of about 30 will be using a lot of big equipment — including tractor-trailers, a 150-ton crane and backhoe tractors — to complete the project. He advises people to budget extra travel time if they plan to drive along U.S. 6 during construction of the pipeline.

"There'll be some minor disruptions to traffic," he said.

Additional information about the pipeline and the Central Utah Project Completion Act is available at www.cuwcd.com.

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