Lower bid means longer water line project in Salem

SALEM–With the winning bid coming in lower than expected, the city Utilities Commission agreed Thursday to stretch the North Ellsworth Avenue water line replacement project a little farther.

The commission awarded the contract to J.S. Bova Excavating of Struthers, which had the low bid at $651,913 out of six bids submitted to replace the water main from 10th Street to Bricker Farms Lane. The engineer’s estimate was $734,525.

Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart asked commission members if they wanted to consider going to Eighth Street instead of stopping at 10th Street for an additional $120,000 and they agreed.

Howells & Baird engineer Jon Vollnogle explained that he proposed going to Eighth Street to eliminate two older separate 6-inch lines in the area near Eighth Street and replacing them with one 8-inch line, which would be an extension of the line already planned on Ellsworth. The extension to Eighth Street would be handled as a change order on the contract with J.S. Bova.

“It makes sense since they’re already there,” Commission Vice Chairman Tim Weingart said.

Commission Chairman Robert Hodgson added that they’ve already seen the effects of waiting on a project — prices go up.

Other bids for the Ellsworth Avenue water line replacement ranged from $713,341 to $896,950. Other bidders included: Rudzik Excavating at $713,341; Pusateri Excavating at $786,614; S.E.T. Inc. at $744,098; Utility Contracting at $896,950; and X-Press Underground at $758,732.

Commission member Randy Malmsberry asked about the difference in the bids. Vollnogle said J.S. Bova was comfortable with the bid and excited to get started.

“They’re ready to go now,” Don Weingart said.

Vollnogle checked the company’s references and learned that this is the type of work the company likes to do, with everyone he talked to pleased with their work. The project will be done with PVC plastic pipe instead of ductile iron and Vollnogle said he was comfortable with that.

Ellsworth is just one of the streets where water lines will be replaced ahead of repaving. A project to replace water lines on Carole Drive, Fairview Court and Homewood Circle has gone out for bid, with bids to be opened at 11 a.m. May 22.

The engineering firm handling that project is Alfred Bennesch & Company.

Money for both projects is being borrowed from wastewater reserve funds.