Benton Township trustees move forward on water main project

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON TOWNSHIP — Benton Township trustees accepted a bid for work on the North Shore Drive water main improvement project on Tuesday.

Following the recommendation of Rob Andrew, Merritt Engineering’s vice president and professional engineer, trustees chose the lowest bid of $179,734 from Southwest Transport.

The project involves replacing the existing water main along North Shore Drive from Madeline Avenue to Higman Park Road and installing a water main along East Ridgeway from North Shore Drive to Adams Street. It comes as part of the township’s recent push for water system improvements.

During Tuesday’s board meeting, Superintendent Kelli Nelson said the project bids came in under what the township’s cost estimate was.

Out of the four bids the township received, the lowest three were within $10,000 of each other.

“All of the bids were very competitive,” Andrew said. “The township’s strategy of bidding this in the offseason seems to have worked out well. The prices were extremely favorable.”

The township is already paying Merritt Engineering $14,500 for design and $17,500 for construction engineering services.

Andrew told trustees Water Distribution Supervisor Mike Baldwin was satisfied with Southwest Transport, as the Hartford company has done work for the township before.

The section of water main was identified in the township’s water system capital improvement plan as the second most important line to be fixed or updated. The water system capital improvement plan, which laid out what water lines needed to be addressed in order of importance, was approved in January 2016.

The township has had five breaks on that stretch of pipe in the last six years. The lifetime expectancy for the new water line is 100 years.

System reliability and fire protection in the area is expected to be improved, and frequent breakage of the old line will be eliminated.

With the bid in, Andrew told trustees the start date for construction will be sometime in early April. Southwest Transport has until June to have the project completed, but Andrew said he doesn’t expect construction to take that long.

Workers are expected to use directional drilling under the road to minimize traffic closures.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Feb. 22, 2017)

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