Trench paving advances pipeline project

Photos, from left, show the Harrington scraper at work, followed by the rotary broom, then the trench paver, and finally Ken Harrington rolling the fresh asphalt.

The 'Harrington Scraper'

A recent invention by YSPUC manager Ken Harrington has saved significant time and money for trench paving.

The “Harrington scraper,” he said, was inspired by the historic Fresno scraper that helped build the Central Valley ag industry.

The device made of scrap metal and attached to the front of a tractor bucket, removes 3 inches of soil packed on top of the trenches that were left from laying new water lines. It clears a 100-foot strip in minutes what would take 2 men half a day to dig out.


YLP's pipeline project, Operation Self Sufficiency, took another big step forward this week.

The Road Department and YSPUC workers prepared and paved over the first stretch of trench opened last summer on Long Hollow Drive where new water lines were installed.

It was a successful test run for some equipment acquired just for this project, including a rotary broom and trench paver.

On Wednesday, Road Department and YSPUC managers and crews, with YLOA General Manager Bob Civello watching, prepped and paved more than 100 feet where the trench started.

“All the moves we've taken are really coming to fruition,” Civello said. “I’m really proud of the guys and the plan.”

YLOA and its water company, YSPUC, launched Operation Self Sufficiency last summer, a 20-year Master Plan to both replace our community’s leaking and poorly constructed mainline water system and repave 50-plus miles of roads — all while limiting the financial impact on resident-members.

Paver at work on Long Hollow Drive

Crews will wait until after the upcoming rainy weather to resume paving the approximately half a mile of Long Hollow that was trenched this past summer and fall for new water mainlines.

Meanwhile, Long Hollow Drive residents will get a break from construction activity while crews take their massive trencher over to Jim Bowie Drive and Kit Carson Way to install new water mainlines on those short roadways.

“Those are two high priority streets — they come with a lot of issues,” Harrington said.

After that, crews will return to Long Hollow and resume work on that pipeline, which is being laid through very hard granite and with complications like hydrants, side connections and pressure reduction valves.

Civello said there’s five months left in the first fiscal year of the project, and it’s not expected that work will reach the 2 ½ projected miles per year.

“To be able to get a mile and half in the first year (especially) on Long Hollow, that presents every single difficulty that we'd expected to hit, blue granite, mainline connections with Sequoia Court, with roots and valves, pressure valves that Ken was saying… this is the hardest part of our project, we started here, so to be at this step, I couldn't be more pleased.”

The goal, Civello said, remains to replace 50 percent of YLOA’s roads, or 25 miles, which represents 80 percent of the pipeline problems, in the first 10 years: “We’re not really deviating from that.”

As always, the major focus is on members and owners, he said. “That still always has to remain first, we're doing the whole project because of the liability that the owners are facing.

“I’m excited that now we’re getting this done.”