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Thu, Feb. 25

Portion of Trans-Canyon Pipeline to be replaced at Phantom Ranch

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - On Monday, Jan. 26, Grand Canyon National Park began replacing a portion of the Trans-Canyon Pipeline at Phantom Ranch.

Ortega Plumbing and Heating of Albuquerque, New Mexico is contracted to replace this section of the pipeline. The project area will replace a half mile section of the Trans-Canyon Pipeline (TCP) including pipeline from the lower campground bridge and north to the Phantom Ranch Cantina along with a short section around the park's mule corral.

Beginning on Jan. 26, construction crews, supplies and heavy equipment will be transferring from the South Rim to staging areas near Phantom Ranch.

To reduce the number of flights over the Canyon, a type one, heavy lift helicopter, will assist with moving materials to the construction site. It will take up to two weeks to transfer the equipment using the heavy lift helicopter

Construction on the pipeline is expected to be complete by the end of July.

During this time period hikers and backcountry users should expect to encounter detours, possible delays and closures while traveling near the construction zone. Visitors should follow all posted signs, detour routes and verbal instructions from personnel.

Hikers should also be prepared treat creek water while in the inner canyon, due to construction requiring intermittent shutdowns on the pipeline.

Construction could temporarily shut down the drinking water system along the corridor trails. All hikers should check in at the Backcountry Information Center for up-to-date information on trail conditions, construction detours and water availability.

Phantom Ranch, the Cantina, and the Bright Angel Campground will remain open during construction.

Visitors to Phantom Ranch should be aware that work may take place between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on any day of the week. Moderate daytime noise and dust impacts are expected due to construction and equipment use.

Individuals who have campground reservations and have questions about the impacts of construction should contact the Backcountry Information Center at 928-638-7875.

Guests with advance reservations at Phantom Ranch should contact the Xanterra Central Reservations at 1-888-297-2757 with any questions about their reservations.

The Trans-Canyon Pipeline was built in the mid-1960s and feeds water to Grand Canyon National Park from Roaring Springs.

The TCP is 16 miles in length and is constructed of six to eight inch aluminum pipe that has suffered numerous leaks, fissures and breaks over the past decade.

Full replacement of the TCP is currently estimated at $100-150 million dollars.

The current project will replace a very small section and addresses immediate issues where breaks occur frequently. These breaks are a high risk to visitors and to facilities at Phantom Ranch.

Major pipeline breaks have occurred since 1978 with anywhere between five to 30 times annually. The frequency of breaks continues to increase as the pipeline ages.

A flash-flood in 1995 caused extensive damage to the pipeline, shutting it down for 28 days while it was repaired. In June of 2013 multiple breaks along the TCP required the closure and evacuation of guests and employees. In December of 2014 another large break required the temporary closure of Phantom Ranch for several days while crews dealt with weather related delays in completing repairs. The park is making efforts to minimize impacts to park visitors and residents.

Questions about the Phantom Ranch pipeline replacement project should be directed to Greg MacGregor at 928-638-7360.

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