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Oak Harbor saves $1 million on water main bid

An Oak Harbor construction company gave city officials a pleasant surprise.

City Engineer Eric Johnston announced during Tuesday’s City Council meeting that the winning bid for a water main on Gun Club Road came in $1 million lower than the original estimate.

C. Johnson Construction of Oak Harbor submitted the low bid of $1.14 million for installation of 5,500 feet of water main pipe to serve a future water reservoir on the north end of the city.

The engineer originally estimated the cost at $2.2 million to $2.5 million. The city received 15 bids, with a high bid of $1.65 million from NOVA Contracting of Olympia.

“He’s a pretty aggressive bidder when in comes to this kind of work,” Johnston said, referring to C. Johnson owner Corey Johnson.

Johnston said the project will be paved with a warm-asphalt mix that’s better for the environment because it reduces fuel consumption and greenhouse gases.

Because of the big savings, city officials decided to hire a construction management company to manage the water main project at a cost of $115,000. The city’s engineers had planned to manage the project, but hiring the consultants will free them up to do other work. Johnston said the delays of the Pioneer Way project have engineers scrambling to catch up on other projects.

The new water reservoir project, for example, is scheduled to go out to bid in August. It’s estimated to cost $4 million.

Johnston said an archaeology investigation was completed at the site and there’s no reason to expect any cultural resources will be disturbed. An inadvertent discovery plan is in place just in case.

The good news about the bid came after the council members discussed the high cost associated with the inadvertent discovery of Native American remains during the Pioneer Way project. Finance Director Doug Merriman said the final costs could end up being $1 million or more above the budget for the project.

Councilman Rick Almberg questioned whether the increased costs of the Pioneer Way project and the savings from the Gun Club Road project would be “a wash.” Merriman, however, pointed out that the savings from the Gun Club Road project will only affect the budget for the water utility, while the costs of the Pioneer Way projects will impact a number of utilities.

C. Johnson is expected to start work on the Gun Club Road water main project this month.

 

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