Work with a view: New water tower taking shape

The water tower at the corner of Newton Avenue and Fountain Street is making a big impact on the community, changing its skyline for decades to come and awing residents as it takes shape. The new tower, replacing one built in 1938, will hold 1 million gallons of water and cost $7 million. At 179.5 feet tall – 18 stories – it will stand 44.5 feet higher than the original tower.

Designed by Bolton & Menk engineering, Phoenix Fabricators is building the tower.

The crews started by laying a sound foundation to support the structure, which will weigh a total of 9.24 million pounds or 4,620 tons when filled with water:

    • Crews pounded 53 steel piles (pipes) 84 – 96 feet into the ground.
    • Each pile is 12 inches in diameter and filled with concrete, with a total of 300 yards of concrete used.
    • Each pile is designed to support 200 tons of weight.

Next came the base ring:

    • Crews used 11 tons of steel reinforcing-bar in the base ring along with 200 yards of concrete, plus 20 yards of concrete in the floor.

Then they started welding together massive pieces of steel to form the base and tank:

    • More than 400 pieces of steel will make up the tower.
    • The thickness of the steel varies from 5/16 – 1.75 inches.
    • The steel totals 851,422 pounds or 425.7 tons.

Crews have used different cranes for the project, including a remote-control crane on top the tower, to lift pieces into place for welding.

As of Aug. 1, 2022, the crews had used:

    • 3,700 pounds of wire.
    • 1,000 pounds of welding rod.

Inside the tower are:

    • A ladder to access the tank.
    • Piping and controls for filling with and dispensing water.
    • An insulated mechanical room with electrical service and valving.

After completing the fabrication, the next steps include:

    • Applying 5 coats of paint to the interior and exterior of the tower.
    • Constructing a building for controls inside the tower.
    • Connecting the tower to the municipal water system.

Weather permitting, the tower should be ready for use by summer of 2023.

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Video: Step into the boots of the engineer inspecting the water tower construction:

Click to see amazing drone footage of crews building the tower.

The base of the tower was welded into place followed by the center structure which was set in place in two pieces.

Once the central structure was in  place, the bottom of the tank was set and welded into place. See construction video above for more detail.

The last of the pieces were set into place at the end of Aug., 2022. Once completely welded and inspected, painting can commence.