‘It just speaks to how increasingly difficult it is to get a project like this put on line’ — Janet Rummel (Colorado Springs Utilities)

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From the Colorado Springs Independent (Pam Zubeck):

Even with recent good news regarding interest rates, SDS is going to cost ratepayers about $1.6 billion, including interest. Complications, of course, could drive the cost higher. And quite a few have been popping up lately.

A contrary court ruling. A competing reservoir plan. Skirmishes over access to engineer the 60-mile line from Pueblo Reservoir. Unresolved deals for real estate and trenching.

Utilities thought it was home-free last year after negotiating a long-term storage deal in Pueblo Reservoir with the federal government. It’s already installed 20 miles of pipe and acquired 63 percent of the roughly 300 parcels it needs. So what could go wrong?

Plenty, apparently.

“It just speaks to how increasingly difficult it is to get a project like this put on line,” Utilities spokeswoman Janet Rummel says. “At this time, we believe we can continue to manage these risks within the approved budget.”

More coverage from Chris Vanderveen writing for 9News.com. From the article:

The Southern Delivery System will, when completed in 2016, bring 78 million gallons of water a day from the Pueblo Reservoir to Colorado Springs.

Major construction began on the 60-mile pipeline last year.

“Colorado Springs Utilities has been planning on the Southern Delivery System since really the late 80s,” SDS spokesperson Janet Rummel said. “It’s really going to help insulate us from a drought like we saw in 2002.”

It’s impossible not to notice the massive project in Pueblo West. Construction crews are feverishly digging trenches to house the pipeline. It’s often grueling work, requiring crews to dig into land that is flush with rock…

What is clear is that the project is providing much-needed relief for a construction industry that has been hit hard by the economic downturn. Jared Nessler works for HCP Constructors and is based out of Pueblo West. “We started working on SDS early in 2011,” he said. This job, he said, is right in his backyard.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

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