That video clip shows something we might never get to see again – the underground view of a 50-million-gallon reservoir before it’s filled. (That’s 250 times what it takes to fill Southwest Pool.) This is Beacon Hill Reservoir (map), one of four reservoirs the city is putting underground — two of the other three are in West Seattle, and when we joined various city officials including Mayor Nickels for the Beacon Hill underground media tour this morning, we learned about a milestone happening today at Myrtle Reservoir here in West Seattle:
You can’t see it from that above-ground photo, of course, but “final acceptance testing” has begun at Myrtle today – testing all systems together for about a week, after a period of testing each system individually – and if that goes well, the reservoir could be filled as soon as next week. We also got some info on the Highland Park project to put West Seattle Reservoir (map) underground – read on for that, other views beneath Beacon Hill, and some words from the mayor:
The main difference between Myrtle Reservoir and the one we toured today is size: Myrtle will hold five million gallons; Beacon, ten times that. But otherwise, Seattle Public Utilities‘ Stephanie Murphy told us, the design’s the same – the contractor’s the same. And she talked about the upcoming project to cover West Seattle Reservoir at Westcrest Park:
SPU also tells WSB that a public meeting will be set in the near future to give West Seattle residents information about this new reservoir project — probably in mid-July, at Highland Park Elementary School; we’ll let you know as soon as it’s set. Meantime, before taking media crews underground, the mayor noted that four reservoirs in all are going underground, saying they were all set for “floating covers” before he proposed doing it this way instead.
The mayor says the reservoir-undergrounding plan is creating 76 acres of park space citywide (some of it of course is at Myrtle; see our coverage of the latest design plans). But back to the coolness factor. Here’s a closer look at one of the 624 30-foot-high, two-foot-wide columns supporting the Beacon reservoir lid – water will go all the way up to the bottom of the square at the top:
26,000 cubic yards of concrete are involved here – more than 93 million pounds, according to an SPU info sheet. The reservoir’s “footprint” is six and a half acres. One last look at what will soon be underwater at the bottom of those six and a half acres:
The park space created here will be under construction sometime next year, as will the Myrtle Reservoir park. OTHER TIDBITS FROM THIS MORNING’S EVENT: The mayor has his own hard hat, gold with “Mayor Nickels” on the front (the rest of us had to borrow them from the construction company); he arrived and left in his black Toyota hybrid SUV/van-type vehicle, and mentioned he was just back from the U.S. Conference of Mayors (he didn’t point this out but a city press release yesterday noted he was elected vice president, which means he’ll be its president next year) meeting in Miami, which led to a sound bite you might consider schmaltzy, but really, it kinda rings true on a day like today: