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Finding history underfoot

by Kimberlee Craig | Nov 27, 2018

Photo of Riverfront Storm DrainHow about a little history along with that storm pipe repair?

Project Manager Court Hill got a peek into the past, along with the satisfaction of fixing a problem, when contractors installed a new section of pipe under the Loop Trail this fall.

The decades-old pipe had filled with silt and collapsed, causing a sinkhole under the trail in Riverfront Park just north of Fifth Street. Hill got the job of figuring out a fix.

An interesting aspect was the opportunity to “dig” into the history of the area as he researched the original pipe that carries storm water from No. 1 Canyon all the way to the Columbia River. 

Wood to high-tech pipe

Before it was a park, the Columbia riverfront north of Fifth Street was an auto wrecking yard. Records show the pipe was installed in the 1960s. But, as excavators carved out the trench for the new pipe, up came pieces of wire-wrapped wooden pipe. That type hadn’t been made since the 1940s.

Hill said it seems the former land owner used salvaged pipe for the project. 

More than a few car parts come up, too, as contractor dug down to make room for a new, “high-tech” plastic line – that is 5-feet in diameter.

Plus, several truckloads of concrete rubble, used for fill, that was hauled off.

“It was interesting to uncover a little of Wenatchee’s history as part of the project,” said Hill.

Ready for winter 

Getting permits to work on the shoreline set the project schedule. Approval came in early fall so the push was on to finish the work before paving plants closed for the winter.

Hill’s research paid off. The work went well. “We finished repaving on Oct. 31 and reopened the Loop Trail so the community can enjoy it as winter sets in,” he said.

J and K Earthworks, East Wenatchee, was the contractor. Total project cost was about $500,000. 

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