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Bids opened for Boligee Street Sewer project

The city of Eutaw received three bids for their Boligee Street Sewer project at their Monday meeting. However, there are still many questions to be answered.

One of the biggest questions had to do with safety issues and additional work.

Councilmember Lewis Bostick Jr. said he was concerned with the depth of the project and how the price could be affected.

“The question that I have is because of this sewer being so deep and knowing what I know about that area, is there a plus side to the escalation required,” Bostick said. “The design of the project lays out certain limits. If we get in the ground and we get into moving a tremendous amount more material are we opening ourselves as a town to a major claim?”

Because the sewer project is expected to go as deep as 18 feet Bostick said there were several problems, especially with funding, that could arise.

“I know we have a grant for x-amount and the funds for x-amount,” Bostick said. “If that happens how would we handle that as a city if the claim came against us.”

Bruce Higginbotham, who was at the meeting to represent the city as an engineer, said this problem was often addressed before digging began.

“The way we normally put that in any sewer or utility job is we will put a set limit on the estimation,” Higginbotham said. “The way you generally set it up is you have a pay limit. If there is something catastrophic that a contractor can’t do anything about it has to be approved by you.”

Higginbotham added they would use special equipment to be sure safety would not be an issue.

“The way you handle that is trench boxes,” Higginbotham said. “If there is a problem there that no one can foresee we would have to address it before it before it ever came to that point.”

The city received three total bids on the project. Gilco Contracting Inc. was the low bidder with a $228,090 bid. C.B. Developers Inc. was next with a bid of $263,548. Cornerstone Civil Contractors LLC had the highest bid at $448,847.75.

While Gilco contracting had the lowest bid it does not necessarily mean they will be awarded the project.

Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele said they would carefully review the money in place and the bids to be sure they make the correct decision.

“As it is read, Gilco Inc. is the low bidder,” Steele said. “That is not necessarily saying they will be awarded the contract because the amount of money that was awarded for the project exceeds the amount of money that was awarded to do this project.”

The engineers will review the bids to ensure if they are proper or not and the city will then proceed with USDA.

Materials have presented another problem with the project. New regulations on pipe may up the price considerably. Higginbotham said they would have to look at the new regulations and see how they fit into their estimations.

“The one problem we are having here is when USDA awarded the grant they looked at the option of putting PVC in this project,” Higginbotham said. “At that time ALDOT went back and required ductile iron which is a very expensive product. That is one issue we need to look at.”