Concrete pipes for Lake Huron water project are from Bay City - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Concrete pipes for Lake Huron water project are coming from Bay City

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(01/22/14) - Despite the extreme winter conditions, workers are installing components that will bring Lake Huron water as far west as Genesee County. The first section of pipe for the KWA project comes from Bay City.

Northern Concrete Pipe is keeping busy on these bitterly cold days - making 10 foot long concrete sections for the water line being built in St. Clair County.

When you think of pouring concrete, you probably don't envision it on a day like this one. No "easy" summertime road project for these men - they're braving temperatures in single digits to create these 78-inch diameter pipes.

"They're here day in and day out. Working in weather conditions like we have today," said Chris Washabaugh, Northern Concrete Pipe Bay City plant manager.

The sand and limestone for this concrete are from Michigan, as is the workforce.

"This job is keeping 50-plus employees busy where they most likely would have been laid off," said Washabaugh.

The concrete is poured into the sleeves, where it hardens. Then the sleeve is lifted off and the pipe is moved to this storage yard. The completed pipe sections are then taken to the construction site north of Port Huron.

"Each day we send two truck loads, 10 pieces of product down. They'll continue to do this pretty much through this summer," Washabaugh said.

A machine is tunneling its way under Lake Huron, placing the Bay City-built pipes about 60 feet underground.

There's a test bed at Northern Concrete Pipe where they check the strength of the concrete. What they're pouring for the KWA is twice as strong as the contract calls for.

"There's nothing better than to be associated with a big project like this to showcase what our abilities are, what our people's abilities are," Washabaugh said.

The concrete pipes will reach about a mile into Lake Huron to the water intake area and then a mile inland underground. From there, steel pipes to be built in Flint will carry the water above ground to Genesee County.

The KWA project should be finished by 2016.

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