Return-flow infrastructure contracts come in $20M under budget

Source: Waukesha Freeman | June 9, 2020

Bids for the return-flow portion of the city’s Lake Michigan water supply project have come in $20 million under projections, according to Waukesha Water Utility officials.

The Common Council awarded contracts related to the project last week. The contract for the return flow pipeline, which will run from the Clean Water Plant in Waukesha to an outfall location along the Root River, was awarded to S.J. Louis Construction, Inc. for under $80.4 million.

According to Dan Duchniak, general manager of the Waukesha Water Utility, bids were nearly $12.5 million, or 13.4 percent less than estimates by project engineers.

“Because of the current economic challenges, we received especially low bids for this work,” Duchniak said. “Most of the labor for the pipeline will be from Wisconsin, and at least 10 percent of the work must be completed by disadvantaged business enterprises.”

The council also awarded a bid on Tuesday for the phosphorus and return flow pumping station at Waukesha’s Clean Water Plant. C.D. Smith Construction Inc. was the low bidder, at just over $17.1 million.

“That bid was also nearly $8.3 million, or 3 percent, less than estimates,” Duchniak said.

The project, dubbed the Great Water Alliance, will build the pipelines and other infrastructure needed to bring Lake Michigan water to Waukesha and then return it to the Great Lakes Basin after use and treatment.

Construction is expected to begin in August. Residents along the construction routes, whether inside or outside of Waukesha, will be well informed before construction begins, Duchniak said.

“The bids awarded by the Common Council this week are great news for our ratepayers,” Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said. “Lower construction costs will help moderate the rate increases needed from families and businesses for our switch to a new water supply.”

Construction bid packages for the water-supply portion of the project will likely be issued in late 2020 or early 2021, officials said.

The entire project is anticipated to be completed in 2023.