PHOENIX — Looking out across the vista of the north mountain preserve, "This is a pristine area." Libby Goff shudders to imagine a view obstructed by construction crews digging a hole and planting a 66-inch pipeline through it.
"It will be very disruptive," Goff says. "It will rip up the desert. This will never be the same in my lifetime."
Goff is president of the Phoenix Mountain Preserves Council. Along with residents who live along the proposed route of the pipeline, they are trying to convince city officials to alter the route. "It's a preserve so we preserve the way it is. We don't change it," Goff says.
The pipeline is being built to lessen the city's reliance on the Colorado River. The water source for residents who lives in Phoenix City Council Districts 1 and 2. The approximately 10-mile long pipeline starts at the water treatment facility on 24 Street and Lincoln Drive. It goes north through the Preserve at 22nd Street.
It will follow trails and desert roads until it exits at the Dreamy Draw Recreation Center, heading west to State Route 51 then north to Bell Road. It will connect with another pipe at 32nd Street.
"There's nothing 100% decided as of yet," Assistant Water Services Director Troy Hayes says. But options may be limited. While the city says it's considering alternatives, there are too many obstacles to build the pipeline along side of State Route 51 for the entire route north.
There is a flood control dam that backs up to the highway at one point and if ADOT ever considered expanding the SR 51 the city would have to move the pipeline. "The way it sits right now, we'll probably go thru the preserve." Hayes says. "It's how close can we be to the 51 freeway."
Hayes says the final plan on pipeline's route is expected by years end. Construction will begin in the fall of 2020.
The project is expected to cost between $300 and $400 million dollars. It is expected to take about two years to complete.