Construction shortages halt water line repairs in Round Rock

Williamson County

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — The City of Round Rock is working to repair aging, old water lines throughout the city.

Round Rock City Council approved a contract at its Oct. 14 meeting to replace the lines in the Greenhill subdivision, which is just east of Interstate 35 near Mays Street.

In the Greenhill neighborhood, the oak trees have overgrown where many people have come to find home.

“I’m one of the original owners when this subdivision went up,” said Carl Michiles.

Michiles moved to Greenhill in the 80s. The neighborhood was built in the 70s and so were its water lines. Neighbors who live there agree they could use an upgrade.

“Thirty years of replacing the damaged pipes in my own house, and replacing the water heaters and everything else,” said Chris Sigler.

The City of Round Rock’s water line replacement program targets water lines based on their age, history of leaks, breaks and other problems. Replacing these water lines allows for the reliable delivery of drinking water to residents of Round Rock. 

The City replaces these water lines using a method called pre-chlorinated pipe bursting. Courtesy: SKE Construction.

The City contracted with SKE construction for a total cost of $2,022,746.67. The construction company says Round Rock has had several lines break during the dry seasons when the ground shifts, causing the City to lose thousands of gallons of water.

“It seems to be in towns that are expanding in population. The upgrades are all driven by the original infrastructure which is being taxed so hard that it can’t keep up with the demand,” said owner of SKE Construction Karl Ebehart.

COURTESY: Round Rock Greenhill neighborhood.

SKE construction replaces these water lines using a method called pre-chlorinated pipe bursting. The technique allows less impact to City customers by minimizing the time individual water lines are out-of-service. 

“We’re not tearing up the driveways, mailboxes or landscapes,” said Ebehart.

According to SKE, the whole process is fairly non-invasive. The company can have the pipes replaced and water running that same day. Residents in Greenhill, however, may have to wait for the construction to happen.

“We have to drive to several different places all around town to round up the material right now,” said Ebehart.

With widespread supply shortages, there’s a fight to get their hands on what they need for construction.

To date, the City has completed eight projects, replacing approximately 20 miles of existing water lines. The City is averaging approximately 4 miles of repair per year.

This project in Greenhill will replace about 2.5 miles of water lines. The lines being replaced were installed in the 1970s and have a history of breaks.

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