A new water tower for New England? Not yet.


As the city of New England prepares to move forward with Phase 1 of the water improvement project, they’ll do so without a big portion of the original plan.

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Posted October 17, 2014

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

As the city of New England prepares to move forward with Phase 1 of the water improvement project, they’ll do so without a big portion of the original plan.

The water tower.

In an attempt to maximize as much grant money as possible, the city in conjunction with Moore Engineering decided to move the construction of a new water tower and the transmission line to Phase 2.

The city qualified for 44.5% of grant funding through Rural Development for the first phase, with the remaining amount being funded by a loan. In looking towards the second phase, the city is going to try and utilize a grant through the state.

The State Water Commission has grants available that can be as high as 65% according to Cavin Berube, Project Engineer with Moore Engineering, inc.

Under this type of grant, only the water tower and transmission line would fall under the program, and so Moore Engineering pulled those two pieces of the project from the first phase. In place of the water tower and transmission line during Phase 1, more water mains will be replaced.

Citizens have raised concerns over the actual need for a new tower, with some curious as to why the city can’t utilize the current one. A member of the city council echoed those sentiments during the Oct. 6 meeting. Berube, who was in attendance, said they will be looking into the situation again.

Mayor Marty Opdahl said he would have liked to see the results of a new tower, because according to him, that’s probably going to have the most impact on the water system. He does understand though, that utilizing as much grant money as possible is the best option for the city and its residents.

“When I look at the long term goal, and the financing that  we’re going to need to complete this project, it makes sense that we put it off if we can qualify for the state dollars,” Opdahl said.

At the Oct. 6 city council meeting, the council voted to sign the contract with Moore Engineering contingent on the city attorney reviewing the document.

So how will the city pay for the remaining 55.5% of the cost of Phase 1?

Opdahl said that decision and implementation of funding will have to be in place by the first quarter of 2015, though a decision on how the debt will be paid has not been decided.

As the city and Moore Engineering gear up for the start of this major restoration, proper precautions are being taken to ensure unnecessary repairs are avoided, especially the streets.

The big concern is that if the condition of the roads are not good, the wear and tear of equipment during a construction project would ruin the streets and require replacements, not repairs, which would cost the city more money.

“The reason we’re trying to do this geotechnical stuff is [because] we don’t want to get into a situation where we’re doing construction work, and we think the asphalt is fine in some spots if we’re just overlaying it, and it’s all torn up and then the city is looking at a bigger bill in the long run,” Berube said. “We’re trying to be proactive.”

Moore Engineering has hired Braun Intertec to do 60 asphalt cores on the streets of New England.

Right now the plan is to do an overlay on the streets after the work has been completed.

After the work is done, the hole will be filled up to gravel level, then the street will be milled, removing 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch off the whole street.

Then they’ll patch the hole up to the level of the milled asphalt.

The last step will be putting an overlay over the whole street, about two to two and a half inch layer. Essentially it will look like a new street.

If the streets aren’t strong enough to bear the weight of a construction project, Moore Engineering will have to work with the contractors to figure out a way to prevent irreparable damage.

“Doing this [core sampling] right now helps us out for all four phases because it’ll give us an idea right now which makes our estimating easier later on,” Berube said.

As of Oct. 9, Berube said Braun could be out taking samples of the streets in two weeks.

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