(2/5/04) The lone bid received for the
replacement of the town’s Little Run sewer line likely will be
rejected, but the town manager said the project is not in
David Haller informed the board of
commissioners on Monday that the bid for the project was
$703,000, twice the cost that was estimated by Fox &
Associates Inc., the firm that engineered the project. The
town manager said Wednesday, the price is too high for the
"We have to do (the line replacement
project). There’s no question about it," he said. "But we
can’t cripple ourselves by being in too big a hurry on this.
"You can’t pay $700,000 for a project
that is estimated to be $350,000. Granted, things run over,
but you can’t run over that far."
The project is considered vital to the
town’s efforts to reduce wildwater infiltration and inflow,
which has caused some sewage spills. In places, town officials
have said, the line is collapsed, and it is considered to be
the major problem area for the system.
Mr. Haller said it appears that the
timing of the project might have been bad because large
contractors apparently have plenty of work now. Though at
least six companies attended the bid conference, only one bid.
The nature of the project also might
have affected interest in it, Mr. Haller said. Replacing the
line means a company has to handle the logistics of pumping
sewage around the section being worked on. New construction
generally is simpler.
The project will be reassessed and
probably put out to bid again, Mr. Haller said. The town also
might decide not to replace some manholes, which would reduce
cost, and change the way the project is managed, handling it
as a series of small projects rather than one big one.
Changing the way the project is
handled could affect the cost. The town requires bidders to
post a bond for the bid amount plus 15 percent to ensure that
the work gets done, Mr. Haller said, and only a small
percentage of companies can get bonded for a large-scale
project. Doing it in small sections and releasing the bond
when a section is completed would allow smaller contractors to
enter the picture.
"That puts more local people in the
mix," the town manager said of treating the replacement as a
series of small projects. "Only doing a section at a time, you
get people closer to home who work more at the rates we’re
accustomed to. There’s not a lot of local people who can get a
bond" for $500,000 to $700,000.
The drawback to doing the project in
segments, Mr. Haller said, is that town staffers have to be
more involved with the project. He said the workload for staff
members probably has doubled in the past five years, but the
staff size hasn’t increased.
The bid process takes 60 days, and Mr.
Haller said the town generally takes a week or two to analyze
the bids before accepting one. The job should take about six
months, so he estimated that most, if not all, of the line
could be replaced this year.
The town has asked the state for a
$300,000 low-interest loan for the project. Mr. Haller said
state officials have said the town might be able to get as
much as $600,000.
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