Officials: Traffic moving smoothly on Cook

January 9th, 2014 | by Colin Atagi | Comments

Work commenced this week to replace 1,400 feet of sewer pipe beneath Cook Street in Palm Desert, and a portion of northbound traffic has been reduced to one lane as a result.

The lane closure, which is scheduled to last 24 hours a day for about two more weeks, is between Aztec Way and Merle Drive.

IMG_6257The closure has been in effect since Monday, but Heather Engle, a spokeswoman for the Coachella Valley Water District, said Thursday that there haven’t been any significant traffic delays this week.

Rick Majors, who is director of maintenance, operations and transportation for the Desert Sands Unified School District, also said the lane closure hasn’t affected traffic outside of Palm Desert High School near Aztec Lane.

“There might’ve been a few minor delays just getting in and out of the school, but overall this really has not had much impact on us from a transportation perspective,” Majors said.

The only problem to pop up Thursday morning was a dump truck that delayed traffic for several seconds after its driver got out of his vehicle to remove cones blocking his access to the project site.

Otherwise, motorists continued on their way as construction vehicles dug up the ground.

IMG_6253An investigation into the sewer pipe began last year after a car got stuck in a sinkhole at Cook and Merle on Aug. 19.

The sinkhole was linked to deteriorated sewer pipe, which was installed in 2007 but should have lasted for about 50 years, according to CVWD officials.

CDM Smith, a Massachusetts-based engineering and construction firm, evaluated the 3.5-mile sewer line using underground cameras.

Footage showed the section beneath the sinkhole was corroded, discolored and prone to severe damage if not replaced.

Once the pipe is removed, CDM will investigate the cause of the damage.

Other sections need to be repaired and work is scheduled to last into April.

CVWD officials said it’s too early to say if additional lane closures will be necessary.

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