New England water project nearing construction

As the weather warms and the ground thaws, New England is getting closer to the start of a four phase construction project.

Water Tower (RGB)

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor |

As the weather warms and the ground thaws, New England is getting closer to the start of a four phase construction project. The first phase of the water system overhaul took another step to beginning on the April 6 city council meeting when the council voted to approve the hiring of Quam construction.

Quam had the lowest bid out of five companies submitting proposals. Quam, along with two others had bids lower than the construction estimate, which was a pleasant surprise to the city officials.

“Very happy, they came in almost a half of a million dollars less that what the estimates were,” City Auditor Jason Jung said. “That’s quite a bit.”

With the dollars saved the city is now going to include more water main replacements from Phase 2 in the first phase of the project.

“With it being lower than our estimate, we’re actually going to be adding two-and-a-half, maybe three more blocks of water main replacement,” said Cavin Berube, Project Manager with Moore Engineering.

Since the city can move more to the first phase, it should save them money on the back end of the entire project. The cost of materials and labor increase with inflation, and by adding more to the first part, the city won’t have to include so much work by the time the last phase is bid out.

“It’ll save us money on the back end, like on phase three or phase four,” Jung said. “We’re just getting more of the project done in phase one than anticipated.”

Berube said they have previous experience working with Quam Construction, which is based out of Willmar, Minn., and said that the experiences have been good.

“We’ve worked with Quam in the past and they know us and we know them, and they’re a good contractor to have on the project,” Berube said.

Because of ongoing projects, Berube said it might be a few weeks before Quam gets to New England, he said that once they get to town they want to be able to stay there to finish the job. A meeting before construction will determine a start time.

“I don’t know an exact date of when they’re going to be starting, but we’ll be doing a pre-construction meeting here in the next couple weeks to talk about schedule and to talk about other miscellaneous things,” Berube said.

In the contract, Berube added, the water main work should be substantially completed by Oct. 9, with final pavement on Oct. 23. An extra seal coating won’t be done on the streets until June 2016, in order to give the asphalt time to adjust to the cold and to have the chance to fix anything before the final portion of the road is laid.

The city council is already looking ahead to future projects, they voted to approve the second phase of the four phase project at the April meeting.

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