(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Water will be turned off for more than 100 businesses on North Academy Boulevard in Colorado Springs. Some businesses will be able to work through their water outage, but many will have to close.
This water outage, planned by Colorado Springs Utilities (Springs Utilities), is so Springs Utilities can install a more reliable system that will prevent water main breaks in the future. Businesses that will have their water shut off were notified about two weeks ago by the utility company.
The water outage on North Academy Boulevard will affect the area between Austin Bluffs Parkway and Maizeland Road. The outage will last three days, starting on May 2 to May 4. This is Phase 1 of the N. Academy Boulevard Water Valve Replacement Project.
“The reason for this is because we had a water main break in 2021… so that’s why we’re doing this project. To put those isolation valves where you can shut off the water if there’s ever a need, and this creates a lot of reliability into our system,” said Carrie Guy, Springs Utilities’ customer engagement specialist.
This three-day outage is forcing many local businesses, like restaurants, to shut down because they will not be able to operate without water.
“We’re usually opening seven days out of the week all the time. So of course, being closed for three days is going to affect us big time, especially on sales,” said Jose Delatorre, the manager at Mauricio’s Taco Shop.
However, some businesses, like auto shops, will be able to work through the outage.
“We got to get enough heads up to where we were able to plan for it… saving water bottles… we also have waterless hand cleaner,” said Jason Will, the manager at Miken’s Automotive.
Both Mauricio’s Taco Shop and Miken’s Automotive operate seven days a week. Managers agree that three days off is a big hit to business.
“We do ten-hour days, Monday through Friday. There’s no way where we could just shut down for a day or two or three and just check out because we don’t have water,” said Will.
The water outage will last three days, but construction on N. Academy will last for about a month. Suwanna Meyer, the owner of Elephant Thai, said she is expecting sales to be down 30-40% this month because of it.
Meyer said that with the construction in front of her restaurant, she worries that people will take a different route, “and maybe they just skip the restaurant,” said Meyer.
While business owners prepare for the possible monetary hit, they say they understand that this is a long-term investment in the community.
According to Springs Utilities, the pipes that are currently in place were installed in the 1930s.
“Old infrastructure needs to be updated just like anything else in our system, and so these pipes and these valves should last, you know, well past our lifetime,” said Guy.
Springs Utilities said they will be working around the clock during these three days to make sure the work is done and the water can turn back on in time. Construction on North Academy will continue through May 26. Throughout this month of construction, Springs Utilities wants to emphasize public safety.
“Please drive slower. Watch out for employees working at night. Watch out for the public, at night as well,” said Guy.