SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Previous water main breaks in Sioux City have cost the city tens of thousands of dollars. Now, the city plans to start replacing an aging watermain downtown.

Afton Wulf works at a clothing store in Sioux City. She said when the water main broke back in June, customers had a difficult time getting to the store. Later that day when crews began repairing the water lines, Wulf was faced with a different problem.

“They had some big bright lights,” she said. “It was 11:30 at night, but then I kind of assumed it was for the water line. Luckily it was just for the one night but it was pretty loud there.”

Gordon Phair is an engineer for Sioux City. He said city employees are working on a downtown Sioux City infrastructure master plan to prioritze water main and other utility replacements. He says the city needs to make more improvement projects on its aging infrastructure.

“Currently we’re only replacing about .2% of the city’s infrastructure needs,” he said. “We should be replacing 1% every year to keep up with the infrastructure that times out.”

City council member Dan Moore said the city is considering spending more than a $1 million from the American Rescue Plan funds to replace the water main from 5th to 7th Street along Pierce Street. He said downtown Sioux City is thriving and he doesn’t want broken water mains to hinder that success.

“It’s so disruptive and it’s so inconvenient and it can cause nightmares for people so we need to start there,” he said. “We need to get this done but yes there will be other infrastructure projects that we will undertake.”

Moore estimates the Pierce street project would take 60 working days to complete. He said the earliest it could start would be in August. The latest start date would be May of 2023.

The Sioux City City Council voted 5 to 0 to approve the project Monday night. The current estimated price for the project is $1.5 million.