New England water project gets underway

It has been over a year in waiting. After a June 30 public information meeting last year at Memorial Hall, the New England City Council began to plan a project that would revamp the city’s water infrastructure. That planning took shape last week as crews and equipment began to arrive.

A look down Second Avenue west in New England. First, Second and Third Avenues have been milled in preparation for new water system equipment installation.. [PHOTO BY COLE BENZ | The Herald]
A look down Second Avenue west in New England. First, Second and Third Avenues have been milled in preparation for new water system equipment installation.. [PHOTO BY COLE BENZ | The Herald]
By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

It has been over a year in waiting. After a June 30 public information meeting last year at Memorial Hall, the New England City Council began to plan a project that would revamp the city’s water infrastructure. That planning took shape last week as crews and equipment began to arrive.

The current system is nearly 70 years old, and the city has seen the pressure and water quality diminish over the years as the current system deteriorates.

Former City Manager Dave Smith told The Herald last year that the system was designed for a 50 year lifespan, and the city has more than exceeded that limit.

The contractor, Quam Construction, was in the process of finishing up other jobs so they can make their primary focus New England. Weather also played a factor in starting a little later in the summer season, but according to Moore Engineering Project Manager Cavin Berube, they are still on track for a November 1 finish date.

“They believe they’ll still get done in time,” Berube said.

Currently the project is in Phase 1 of four phases. The contractor is doing the phase in two parts. Right now first, second and third avenues west are milled in preparation for a deeper dig to the pipes. The top asphalt layer and the gravel under it has been removed so crews can begin replacing the hardware.

The material taken from the streets won’t be disposed of; the material will be saved to reuse for repairing the roads when the equipment has been replaced. A process that should save the city some money.

The process for the construction starts with milling. The streets are milled and then water mains, hydrants, gate valve and services are replaced. When those pieces are replaced they begin to repair the road, which starts with the material saved from the initial milling. Their main goal is to get everything back to as normal as possible, before the construction began.

“It’s kind of a process, they’ve got a lot of moving parts, and obviously weather plays a factor,” Berube said.

The crew will be working from sunrise until roughly 8 p.m., with the day cut short to noon on Fridays. The company is out of Wilmar, Minn. and they fly their workers back for the weekend.

Driveway access may be limited, but they are trying to keep that access-way open as much as possible.

“They’re still trying to leave them open as much as possible just to make sure people can have access,” Berube said. “They’re going to try and make that work as much as they can.”

Berube also noted that many of the blocks affected by the construction have alleys, something he said residents should try to utilize as much as they can to avoid any interruptions in their daily routine.

Moore Engineering has a representative on site to be able to assist the community with any concerns. Brent Slotto can be reached at 701-388-4771. Berube also said he can be contacted with concerns at 701-499-5834.

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