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Elkhart sewer upgrades to cost around $20 million, less than earlier anticipated

An earlier estimate for the work, to start after July 4, put the total at $23.26 million.

(Dan Spalding/The Elkhart Truth)
Posted on May 27, 2014 at 3:15 p.m.

ELKHART — Bids are in, contractors have been selected and the multi-million dollar overhaul of a portion of the city’s sewer system will cost less than earlier anticipated.

Per bids accepted by the Elkhart Board of Public Works on Tuesday, May 27, the total price tag for the looming work — including a million gallon underground tank in downtown Elkhart — will cost roughly $19.45 million to $20.45 million. The preliminary estimate for the work, to be paid for with low-interest bonds secured through the state, totaled $23.26 million

Here are some particulars:

The cost: The cost of the million gallon sewage holding tank, to be installed under the city-owned Gause parking lot at the southwest corner of Jackson Boulevard and Waterfall Drive, came in at $7.09 million. The bid came from Grand River Construction of Hudsonville, Mich.

Many streets to be repaved
Also Tuesday, the Elkhart Board of Public Works agreed to seek bids on resurfacing nine Elkhart streets and roadways hit hard by the rough winter.
They are:
  • Indiana Avenue, Benham Avenue to S.R. 19.
  • Benham, Hively Avenue to Mishawaka Road.
  • Prairie Street, Lusher Avenue to Indiana.
  • California Road, C.R. 3 just west of Memorial High School to S.R. 19.
  • John Weaver Parkway, C.R. 10 to S.R. 19.
  • Bristol Street, Garden Street to Johnson Street.
  • Bristol, Jeanwood Drive east to the city limits.
  • Bent Oak Trail, Clubhouse to C.R. 7
  • Bullard Road, C.R. 15 to Middlebury Street.
The work, with a preliminary price tag of $1.7 million, is to be done by the end of August. City officials approved a special appropriation last week for the improvements, to be done on top of regular road maintenance projects.

The cost of upgrades to Elkhart’s Wastewater Treatment Plant at 1201 S. Nappanee St. will total $10.36 million, per the low bid from Kokosing Construction Co. of Westerville, Ohio.

Engineering, inspection and other costs on top of that will total $2 million to $3 million, according to Mike Machlan, the city engineer and head of the board of public works.

The timeline: Work on the two projects is to start after July 4 and be “substantially complete” by September 2015, Machlan said.

The first element of the underground storage tank portion of plans will be installation of a water main under Lexington Avenue west of Waterfall Drive, necessitating the closure of Lexington there. The contract calls for the work to be done in 30 days, with the contractor facing a $1,000 a day fine if it takes more and a $500 a day bonus if it takes less.

Next will come work under Jackson Boulevard north of the tank site, necessitating that busy roadway’s closure there for around 45 days. The contractor will face a $5,000 a day fine if the work takes longer and a $1,000 per day bonus if it takes less.

The underground storage tank project has worried some downtown merchants, concerned it will hamper travel in the city center. City officials have identified new parking areas to compensate for the temporary loss of the Gause lot while work is underway to address the concerns.

The upgrades are part of a broader $155 million overhaul of the city’s sewer network that stems from tighter federal rules.

Follow reporter Tim Vandenack on Twitter at @timvandenack or visit him on Facebook.


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