By Denise Monroe
For weeks we have been watching a large cylindrical structure being built along US 59 near University Blvd. As the days went by one concrete ring was added, then another and another. It soon became obvious it was beginnings of a tower of some sort.
Due to the size and odd means of construction the rest of it was a mystery. Water tower? Rather big for a water tower. Observatory tower? Too many lights around for that. Entrance monument for a new development? A strange shape, but it could work. Ah! A revolving restaurant atop a tower to overlook Sugar Land! Now there is an awesome idea!
But then a giant metal flower started to emerge from the bottom taking on a whole new point of interest. What is it, and why is it on the ground? Alas! We find out!
It is indeed a water tower being built in a very unique way. Although it is an industry standard for Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors, we are generally not accustomed to seeing a water tower built in this manner. According to Chris Steubing, City Engineer for Sugar Land, it is the first of its kind in the city. It is a composite tower made of large concrete rings for the base and a welded steel bulb.
The interesting concept is that when the steel bulb is 75 % complete, it will be hoisted 18 inches at a time to the top of the base to be locked and welded into place and will hold 2 million gallons of water. By fabricating the bulb at ground level, the welders are able to work on scaffolds, which is much safer and more maneuverable than being suspended from above. The draw for this construction is that it is much more economical than the conventional methods of building a water tower.
While the structure itself is nothing to get excited about, it certainly has proven to catch the attention and curiosity of commuters along the Southwest Freeway.
So…. about that revolving restaurant idea…..who’s in?