Construction on the new water tower begins Monday, May 8, at the Idaho Falls Public Library. Parking has been modified during construction to accommodate library patrons. Once complete, there will be minimal impacts to parking at the library.
The new water tower will be built in the southeast corner of the library parking lot, a city-owned property. During construction, parking stalls on the south side of the library parking lot will be closed. Once construction is complete, the parking lot will be reconfigured so only one to two parking stalls will be lost.
In cooperation with the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation, one row of parking stalls across Park Avenue, just east of the library, will change from all-day parking to two-hour parking for library patrons only during construction and will be signed accordingly. The city will place outdoor electronic message boards at this parking lot and the library parking lot to give advanced warning of the changes. There are additional shared parking stalls available around the library.
A construction parking map serves as a guide for motorists and is available online and in printed format inside the library and other adjacent commercial properties. Parking and directional signage, including QR codes, will be added around the library to assist motorists with parking during construction.
Those who do not have transportation to and from the library or prefer not to drive are encouraged to use the City of Idaho Falls’ GIFT On-Demand rideshare service by downloading the GIFT On-Demand mobile app or by calling 208-999-GIFT (4438). GIFT vehicles are equipped with bike racks.
“We extend our gratitude to the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation and library board and staff for their continued support and willingness to work with us on this important project,” states Public Works Director Chris Fredericksen.
Contractors have planned for an aggressive work schedule over the next two construction seasons to expedite the project. The current 86-year-old water tower will remain standing and operational to maintain a pressurized system until construction of the new water tower is complete in 2024.
The slender design of the new 1 million gallon water tower, essential for the city’s entire potable water system, aligns with the city’s needs to build a higher capacity water storage facility to accommodate population growth while addressing the community’s concerns about limited space downtown.
Water Superintendent Dave Richards explains, “The new design addresses many challenges we had with the current tower, including ongoing operations and maintenance. The concrete column has a much smaller footprint, eliminating the need to paint the entire tower over its 85 to 100 year lifespan, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. The steel bowl at the top will be the only element that is painted. A fence around the tower will protect the structure.”
City officials began considering replacing the aging water tower in 2008 after a study to evaluate the structural integrity of the tower revealed that the tower had met its expected design life and required upgrading to a new structure to meet current building standards and seismic requirements. The $8.9 million project is funded through already-established water rates.
“Discussions about how to memorialize the current tower while recognizing those who played an integral part in it are ongoing. No decisions have been made about this phase of the project yet, but we will continue to keep our community informed as plans progress,” states Public Information Officer Kerry Hammon.
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Stay informed about the elevated water tower project and other city news by downloading the new City of Idaho Falls app.
Additional information about the water tower is located on the Idaho Falls Public Works website or by calling (208) 612-8471.
Media Contact: Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon, (208) 612-8122 or [email protected]