Crews lay final layer of asphalt as Phase 1 of the New England water rehab project finishes

One down, three to go.

This past weekend crews finished laying down a layer of asphalt over sections of street affected by the water project construction, essentially putting a cap on Phase 1 of the four phase project in New England.

A construction worker steam rolls freshly poured asphalt on Main Street in New England. The first phase of the water project finished up and plans for the second phase are already under way. (Photo By Cole Benz/The Herald)
A construction worker steam rolls freshly poured asphalt on Main Street in New England. The first phase of the water project finished up and plans for the second phase are already under way. (Photo By Cole Benz/The Herald)

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

One down, three to go.

This past weekend crews finished laying down a layer of asphalt over sections of street affected by the water project construction, essentially putting a cap on Phase 1 of the four phase project in New England. The asphalt will eventually be covered by a layer of chip seal, but that won’t happen until the next spring so the asphalt has a chance to adjust to the differing temperatures of winter and spring.

The project began in mid July, and was scheduled to finish by Nov. 1. But after a few minor delays they finished within a week of their target date.

“I think it went good,” Cavin Berube said of how the first phase of construction went. Berube is Project Manager with Moore Engineering.

New England City Mayor Marty Opdahl praised the citizens of New England for bearing with the inconveniences of construction work.

“I have to say that I’m really, really proud of the citizens of New England for putting up with the inconvenience,” Opdahl said.

Opdahl also said that he was pleasantly surprised with how smooth the project went, something he attributed working with Moore Engineering, who came to the project with a considerable amount of experience in working with these projects.

“I am real comfortable going into the next three phases, yes,” Opdahl said.

Berube said the project came in under budget, so they may be able to add more work to the second phase.

The unfortunate part of the first phase is that residents may not be able to see an immediate impact to the water performance. Berube said this is attributed to breaking the project into four phases.

“I don’t think it’s perfect yet, because ultimately the whole system acts as one, and until everything gets replaced,” Berube said. “That’ll be when you’re going to see the biggest difference.”

So next on the books for Moore Engineering and the city of New England is the second phase of construction. The city council had approved a motion to start applying for funding and Berube said he had already been working on the funding options for a few months now, and that he is waiting to see if the city can get help from the state water commission. The state water commission has a program that may help fund a new water tower and transmission line to the tower, and if that happens the city can use grant money through the Rural Development program in other places.

Though the process has somewhat stalled because the city is waiting for the response from the state water commission, the plan is still to begin the second phase next summer.

“We still believe we’ll be doing another phase next summer,” Berube said.

For the next phase, residents should see a little less street work, which will in turn be less inconvenience to the residents.

The next phase will include some sewer work, which the city will try to acquire some grant money for that portion. But in order to qualify for funding, the city might have to raise the sewer rates, something that Opdahl said is up for discussion during the next city council meeting. According to Opdahl, the city’s rates are low in comparison to other communities, and raising them would put them more inline with market standards.

For now Quamm Construction might still be in town for a short period of time making sure that all their loose ends are tied up. They will also be seeding lawns that were disturbed by the construction.

“Any lawns or any other areas that were disturbed by construction we’ll seed all those areas,” Berube said.

He added that residents can water the seed to help it grow next spring.

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