Archive for Thursday, April 21, 2011

Topping it off: Basehor water tower takes final shape

This sequence shows the slow climb of a 300,000-pound steel bowl up the 105-foot concrete base of the new Consolidated Water District No. 1 water tower Monday morning in Basehor.

This sequence shows the slow climb of a 300,000-pound steel bowl up the 105-foot concrete base of the new Consolidated Water District No. 1 water tower Monday morning in Basehor.

April 21, 2011

A structure that will dominate Basehor’s landscape for decades to come took its shape Monday morning after about seven months of construction.

As onlookers peered through binoculars and snapped photos, a construction crew hoisted a 300,000-pound steel bowl to the top of the new Consolidated Water District No. 1 water tower in Basehor. The crew began raising the bowl at 7:30 a.m., and it took until just after 10 a.m. for the bowl to scale the 105-foot-tall concrete column upon which it will rest.

The tower, between 155th and 158th Streets north of U.S. Highway 24-40, will hold 1 million gallons of water.

A group ranging from five to 10 people, a mix of water board members and other residents, watched the process from the parking lot of First Baptist Church of Basehor just north of the tower, some of them coming and going throughout the morning.

Ron Milbourn, a member of the water district board, watched from the church parking lot with a pair of binoculars. He said he was interested to see the sight of the 70-foot-diameter bowl being raised, though he joked that he also came to make sure the bowl wasn’t attached crookedly to the top of the tower.

“It’s not something you get to see every day,” Milbourn said.

Also watching were Mike Fulkerson, operations director for the water district, and Dan Fisher, area specialist for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, who traveled from Manhattan. USDA Rural Development backed the financing for the $2.2 million project.

“Dan and I first started talking about this two years ago,” Fulkerson said. “To see it finally happening is really, really interesting.”

Fischer said it was the first time he’d watched the construction of such a large tower.

Fulkerson noted that the bowl-raising process, while impressive in scope, was slow to watch. The crew lifted the bowl 105 feet over the course of two-and-a-half hours, a rate of 8.4 inches per minute.

“It’s not a quick process,” Fulkerson said.

Workers for Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors, the contractor working on the tower, worked their way repeatedly around the top of the concrete column, using hydraulic-powered jacks to raise a series of cables attached to the bottom of the bowl and using torches to cut the excess cable that stretched upward.

The million-gallon tower holds 10 times as much water as the water district’s former tower in the same location, which held 100,000 gallons. Based on growth projections, the district expects the new tower to serve its needs for about 50 years, Fulkerson said, and it’s likely to stay in use longer than that.

Fulkerson said two to three weeks of work remained before work on the bowl was finished. After the bowl is in place, another contractor will apply a paint scheme beginning in May, he said, and the tower is tentatively scheduled to be operational by August, just less than a year after construction began, in September 2010.

The paint scheme, approved last month by the Basehor City Council, is to include the words “Welcome to Basehor” facing toward the highway, along with Basehor-Linwood High School’s Bobcat logo. Basehor-Linwood school district superintendent David Howard requested at the council’s March work session that the tower include the Bobcat.

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