KID moves forward on next phase of Red Mountain project

Tri-City Herald Staff WriterMay 21, 2013 

— Kennewick Irrigation District is preparing to start construction on a nearly $4.9 million phase of the project to irrigate more acres of prime grape-growing land on Red Mountain.

The district’s board unanimously approved contracting with Pacific Crest Construction of Lynnwood, Wash., for the next phase of the $17.2 million project in the Red Mountain American Viticultural Area between Richland and Benton City.

Pacific Crest Construction will be building the Kiona intake structure, pump house and other improvements that will allow the district to draw Yakima River water to irrigate about 1,785 acres on Red Mountain, allowing more grapes to be planted.

The water then will delivered through 42-inch steel pipes to a pump tower. Two reservoirs also will be built to hold about 400,000 and 100,000 gallons, respectively.

The first phase of the Red Mountain project involved preparing the intake site, excavating rock and evaluating the stability of the rock. Jason McShane, KID’s engineering and operations manager, said that work is nearly complete.

The board agreed earlier this year to prepare the site of the booster pumps and station for the project first, before contracting for the remainder of the project, because of some uncertainty about rock stability.

McShane said the rock did end up having good structural strength. There will be fencing along the rock face, but soil nail walls that were of a concern because of the expense will not be needed.

Landowners will pay for the project using a local improvement district, or LID. KID is one of the landowners, with about 620 acres.

Water may be available to farmers as soon as June 2014, which may not be early enough for planting that year.

Check back later for updates.

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