Latest sewer bid now $4 million less

With the sticker shock from previous offers that neared $30 million behind them, the City Council approved two bids that will save the city 8 percent for the Sewer Lake Line project.

Last Monday night, the Council approved spending up to $25.3 million to repair the deteriorating, 7,500-foot-long, underground sewer pipe in the shores of Lake Washington from Proctor Landing to Roanoke Way. The money will also pay for a new pump station near Faben Point.

“We are a very delighted team. The [bid] results are as good as we could have hoped for. We have a viable project,” said maintenance director Glenn Boettcher. “It’s time to put the design in the rear-view mirror and move to construction.”

A total of $19.1 million is going toward the bid contracts for both construction projects. The Council authorized city staff to pay Manson Construction $14.8 million to lay the pipe in the lake bottom, and Stellar J. Corporation will be paid $4.3 million for the new pump station. The rest will go toward inspections, mitigations and engineering services.

The contractors plan to begin work on the new pump station in January and finish by next September. The work in the lake will be limited to certain “fish windows” — times when the state allows marine construction — and will not begin until July. Permits allow marine construction to occur until February or March of 2010, and the plan is to begin the second phase in July 2010, with the entire project completed by the year’s end.

The city still has to raise an additional $10 million to fund the work. According to City Manager Rich Conrad, administrators are seeking federal assistance to fill some of that shortfall, if not all of it. $14.5 million is currently available through a series of cash reserves, a federal grant secured by Representative Dave Reichert and a public works trust fund.

City officials began preparing for the eventual replacement of the aging line, which was increasingly experiencing breaks in 2005. While only two offers were made the last time the project went out to bid in the fall of 2007, there were 13 this time around. The first project proposal included 9,000 feet of sewer pipe in the lake along with the new pump station. Those bids came in at $27.5 and $29.9 million, twice the amount that city officials expected.

Under the insistence of City Councilmember Dan Grausz, the city’s consultants determined that the additional 1,500 feet of sewer pipe originally to be replaced was actually in decent condition.

Less than 100 homes are directly affected by the deteriorating pipe. According to City Attorney Katie Knight, the city only has a few easements remaining for some of the construction work to take place on private properties attached to the pipe.

“This is great work that has been a long time coming,” Councilmember Mike Grady said of the successful bids obtained by city staffers and consultants.

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