By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
After years of water line breaks, about 53 homes near the intersection of Eighth Street and Eighth Avenue will finally get new water lines. But depending on the weather, it might not happen until spring.
Last week's low bid for the project was about $45,000 more than what the city had budgeted, but on Monday night the Finance Committee of the Havre City Council decided that the project will go on. It agreed to appropriate an additional $45,000 from the city's water reserve fund to complete the project.
Now the question is whether the low bidder, Great Falls-based Shumaker Trucking & Excavating, will try to start the project, estimated to take at least 60 work days, before the temperature begins to regularly drop below freezing. Once that happens, Havre public works director Dave Peterson said, the above-ground temporary water supply to those houses would freeze.
"More than likely I would guess it would be next spring, but if it's nice this fall ... they could get a lot of work done," Peterson told the committee.
Work would not start for about two weeks at the earliest, Peterson said, because the company and the city have to take care of the necessary paperwork first.
Once it starts, the company will shut off water service to the area while it digs into the street to replace about 2,300 feet of 6-inch water main and the smaller service lines that connect to each curb box.
The area, on Seventh and Eighth streets between Eighth and Ninth avenues, has been plagued by water line breaks for at least 15 years, Peterson said. He said Havre has several areas that suffer from water line breaks, but that this area has more breaks than others. Causes might include bad pipe, the fact that the neighborhood is on a hill, and unusual soil that could be damaging the pipes, Peterson said.
Shumaker Trucking & Excavating's bid came in at $287,822, below the project estimate, but more than the $242,760 the city had originally budgeted. Peterson said that amount was based on the engineer's initial estimate last year. The engineer presented a revised estimate of about $289,000 last week.
Peterson recommended the city take the company's bid.
A project to replace about 1,000 feet of water line on First Avenue east of Northern Montana Hospital is set to begin next week and should take about two weeks, Peterson said.
The section of water line has no houses tapped directly into it but provides water to nearby subdivisions of Northern Heights, Southview and Shulund. Those homes will not lose water for more than one day as a result of the work, Peterson said.
That project is being done by the city.