published Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Kimball sewer bid lower than expected

By Ryan Lewis

KIMBALL, Tenn.—City administrators haven’t gotten much good news in recent months about their town’s sewer line problems, but last week they found a small bright spot.

Officials had said that more than 1,300 feet of sewer line along U.S. Highway 2 was in serious need of replacement or repair, but one section that crosses the highway represents a job so difficult and expensive, the Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen didn’t think it would be worth the risk.

Officials said Henley Construction in Sewanee, Tenn., submitted a low bid of $101,254.50 for the main project and an alternate bid of $38,401 for the highway crossing job.

Anthony Pelham, a civil engineer with James C. Hailey & Co. in Nashville, said the base bid was about what officials expected, but the alternate bid was much lower than he would have estimated.

“When [the board] met with Anthony a couple of weeks ago at a workshop, we anticipated this [work underneath U.S. Highway 2] to come in between $50,000 and $60,000,” Mayor David Jackson said. “I think if we can get it done for $38,000, we needed to go ahead and accept the base bid and the alternate bid.”

The board unanimously approved Henley Construction’s base bid and alternate bid for the sewer line repairs totaling $139,655 pending a review of the company’s references.

Pelham said there is an extremely small margin of error with the highway crossing job, and the alternate bid price includes any possible mistakes made by the contractor.

“That’s why I want to vet these references a little more closely,” he said. “I want to see if [Henley Construction] is doing the boring themselves or if they are subcontracting that work. My anxiety is around that bore.”

An additional alternate bid for $29,563, which would have addressed the problems for about 300 more feet of sewer line, was rejected by the board.

The price for that bid simply outweighed the benefits Kimball would get from the repairs, Pelham said.

“We can get by without that at this time,” Jackson said.

A preconstruction meeting on the sewer line repair project could take place in as little as three weeks, officials said.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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