The water line replacement project in Ottawa’s downtown business district on Main Street — from the Marais des Cygnes River bridge to the corner of Fifth Street — will begin July 16, city officials said.

Two public meetings have been scheduled to discuss the project — 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 11 and 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. July 13 — in the Ottawa City Commission chambers at City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St., Ottawa.

The project is set to begin at the river bridge on the East side of Main Street and continue south to Fifth Street. The project then will move to the west side of the street and work north to the river bridge, officials said. The project is expected to take 165 working days to complete with crews working 10 hours a day Monday through Thursday. Officials said the street will be left as accessible as possible on the weekends.

Hettinger Excavating, Drexel, Missouri, is the contractor for the project. The company will install a new, 8-inch water main line on both sides of Main Street along a parallel line with the parking stalls, officials said. The contractor will install the pipe and move through each block in three to five days, depending on weather and other factors, officials said. After installing the main pipe, workers will connect the new lines to each building — a process expected to take a minimum of one hour to several hours, officials said. Officials said measures will be taken to minimize the length of time businesses will be without water during the connection period.

The project is necessary because of numerous breaks in the 33-year-old lines, city officials said. Construction costs and interest rates also are lower this time of year, officials said, enabling the city to potentially save money.