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      Water upgrades affect Columbia hotspot

      Cleaner water and improved fire protection is the goal of the water main rehabilitation project in Downtown Columbia.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- It may not look like it now, but by the end of January, the Vista will be under construction.

      Instead of trying to dig up Gervais Street and put in new pipes, the trenchless technology will allow us to cut into the water main and clean out the inside of it with scrapers, and then we will reline it with a cement coating to keep the rust and tuberculation from coming back, says Owen Livingston, who works in the city TMs utilities and engineering department.

      According to Livingston, the lines in need of help date back to the early 1900s.

      The goal of the water main rehabilitation project is to improve water quality and fire protection.

      While the equipment is out there doing the digging and doing the lining, there will be some lane closures, says Livingston. The S.C. Highway Department's permit allows us to be in the street from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the contractor is tentatively planning on working Sunday through Thursday.

      On Wednesday, the project was explained to business owners.

      Traveling to and from work was the only concern on the mind of Vista merchant Brett Hrovat.

      Obviously just getting in and out of my office everyday, says Hrovat, but it sounds like they really have a good game plan for it.

      Drivers can expect traffic delays throughout the length of the project and minimal interruptions in service. Livingston adds that both businesses and residents will be notified before losing water.

      Total cost of the project is a little less than $7.5 million, which Livingston says is cheaper than putting in brand-new pipes.

      The timeline for the project is to have the Vista completed in four months and the surrounding area done in about a year.