Utility Projects Approved
Budget amendments for contracts totaling almost $1.5 million will enable Moore County to proceed with three major utilities' projects affecting Seven Lakes and Pinehurst.
The Moore County Board of Commissioners gave unanimous approval Monday night to all three contracts and the budget amendments needed to cover additional cost of the projects.
A fourth contract will provide water tank maintenance for a 13-year period. It is separate from the utility contracts.
Commissioner Colin McKenzie raised questions about the higher costs and complained that Pinehurst is not getting its fair share of the improvements. The village of Pinehurst and environs represent the major customer base of the county utilities' system.
"There's 12 million worth of work that needs to be done in Pinehurst, and we're spending money all over the county on things that don't have anything to do with Pinehurst," McKenzie said. "It's not right."
McKenzie also expressed concern that one project, the second phase of the N.C. 211 water main, has almost doubled in cost from the initial estimate by the consulting engineers. He noted that the original allocation in March of 2005 was less than $600,000 and included both engineering and construction. But the latest amendment amounts to $974,315.20, bringing the total project allocation to more than $1.1 million.
Public Works Director Marcus A. Jones, who is an engineer, said the additional cost reflects sharp increases in construction costs over the past two years, along with unexpected requirements from the encroachment agreement with the state Department of Transportation.
Examples of additional costs from the N.C. 211 widening project are widening of the water main outside the existing right of way, boring for additional proposed road width and water main placement at significantly great depth to match proposed road alignment.
Despite the higher cost, Jones pointed out that all bids received were close, signaling the fact that the total is in line with industry-wide costs at this time.
But McKenzie complained that the gap between the estimate and the reality was "a big miss" at almost twice the original projection.
"That's ridiculous to me," McKenzie said.
The contract was awarded to Sanford Contractors Inc. of Bear Creek, identified as the lowest responsive, responsible bidder.
In his report to the commissioners, Jones said the project would provide an efficient interconnection between Pinehurst and Seven Lakes for transmission of water to Seven Lakes. The location is within the NCDOT right of way and proposed NCDOT right of way of N.C. 211 between Murdocksville Road and the main entrance to Pinewild Country Club.
Jones said easements are being obtained for areas outside the current NCDOT right of way, which will be within the highway right of way once N.C. 211 is widened.
McGill and Associates is the project designer and administrator under a contract previously awarded by the commissioners.
The board also awarded a $387,587.10 contract to Sanford Contractors to build the Seven Lakes tank interconnect water main project located within the NCDOT right of way of Seven Lakes Drive and N.C. 211 from the "golf ball tank" and across private property to the other elevated tank. The project has the potential to correct hydraulic problems in the system, Jones told the board.
Sanford Contractors Inc. again was the lowest responding bidder.
The third contract was the only one that directly affected Pinehurst.
In this case, the $126,504 contract was awarded to Reynolds Inliner, the lowest bidder, to rehabilitate problem sections of the sewer around Lake Pinehurst. It is the second phase of a sewer line repair and rehabilitation project for the area.
The work will be concentrated from the Marina to Gingham on the west side of the lake and from Hall Road to Lakeview Condominiums on the east side. The method will be cured-in-place pipe lining.
Hydrostructures PA designed the project and is the project administrator.
The water tank maintenance contract went to Utility Service Co. Inc. for $672,760, the lower of two bids received.
Jones said the county has several elevated water storage tanks that are repaired on an "as needed basis" but that routine maintenance has not been provided. He recommended the contract because routine maintenance will take care of such things as structural integrity, safety, sanitary conditions, dependability and extend the life of the tanks.
The vote on this contract was also unanimous.
Funding for the tank maintenance contract is included in the current county budget. Funds for the other three projects will come from the county's Utility Fund, as allocated under either Phase I or Phase II of the Capital Improvement Plan.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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