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Waterline project ahead of schedule
Work also coming in under budget
new deh city council water line pic web
Water line work continues on Forrest Avenue last week. The City Council Monday night approved a change order for the project, allowing more to be done. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 Sure, the ongoing Great Bend waterline replacement project seems to be dragging on, leaving gaping holes in streets and snarling traffic. But, the City Council was assured Monday night that there was light at the end of the pipe.

“We should hopefully be done months ahead of schedule,” said project engineer Josh Golka with Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita, the city’s on-call engineering firm. At about 60 percent complete, “we’re in an excellent position.”

The contractor for the $6.5 million project is APAC out of Hutchinson, and under the contract, the firm has until next March to finish. But, Golka said work will likely wrap up by late this fall or early this winter.

“They’ve been excellent to work with,” Golka said of APAC. The firm has been cooperative in accommodating the needs of the city.

Golka explained that APAC has three types of crews on projects of this scale. The first comes in to dig the access holes and install the main lines, the second to hook the lines to the individual services and the last to restore the pavement.

As planned, the total project price tag was $6 million, with $4 million for construction, $500,000 for well improvements, and the balance for design, testing, inspection, administration and other expenses. 

The work involves the replacement of 40,000 linear feet of waterlines that are four-to-six-inch cast iron pipes dating back about 60 years. 

However, so far, the work is under budget, Golka said. As of now, the city has about $1.2 million available for additional improvements. According to the bond restrictions, the funds have to be used for waterline or infrastructure improvements. 

So, the council Monday approved change order number one in an amount not to exceed $294,597 to cover additional modifications identified by the Public Works Department. Although Golka said the city should keep a cushion until the project nears completion just in case, there will be money available for still more additions to the project.

Considering the size of this project, there have been surprisingly few problems, Golka added. And, thanks to the accuracy of city records, crews have encountered few surprises.