Contract awarded for water project

Published 8:51 am Thursday, October 3, 2013

JACKSON – With the clock already ticking towards a completion date, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners have awarded the contract to begin work on the Phase V Water Improvement Project.

At a special called meeting here last week, the board awarded the contract to Herring-Rivenbark, Inc. of Kinston, a utility contractor specializing in water and sewer projects. That company submitted the lowest base bid ($2,357,746.14) of the three firms expressing interest in the project.

In addition to the base bid, Herring-Rivenbark was also the lowest of the three bidding a trio of alternates to the project. Due to Northampton operating a tight budget on the project, Alternatives #2 and #3 were eliminated while three segments of Alternative #1 were approved at an additional cost of $1,319,135.86.

The timing was critical to begin the construction phase of the project, per an agreement with USDA which mandates the funding they loaned ($4,871,000) and awarded the county via a grant ($971,000) needs to be expended by July 2014.

USDA initially obligated the funds in 2004 after the Phase V water project was approved by Northampton County citizens in a voter referendum. At that time, the funding was good for seven years, but was extended another three years.

The county received permission on Sept. 10 from the Local Government Commission to move forward with the project. The LGC approved the county’s need for interim financing on the total project, which is $5.84 million and also includes water meters ($1.3 million), engineering fees ($470,412), contingency ($248,706), preliminary engineering and design ($192,493), easement and wetland evaluations ($27,800), and administrative/legal fees ($40,000).

Phase V brings water to the following areas of Northampton:

Jordan Mill Road back to NC Hwy 186 – 10 customers signed-up and paid;

Mt. Carmel Road from US 158 to Jackson By-pass Road – 10 customers signed-up and paid;

Tower Road from existing line to Diamond Grove intersection – 9 customers sign-up and paid;

From NC Hwy 35 onto Deloatch Mill Road to the bridge – 9 customers signed-up and paid;

Indian Branch Road to Ashley’s Grove Road to Perdue Hatchery Road to US Hwy 158 and Parker Road – 21 customers signed-up and paid;

Collier Road from Lasker Golf Course Road to Pin Hook Road – 3 customers signed-up and paid;

W. J. Duke Road from Rehoboth Road to Bryantown Road and Cumbo Road to Bolton Road – 20 customers signed-up and paid;

Oak Grove Church Road to Cherry Tree Road back to existing line on Cherry Tree Road – 21 customers sign-up and paid; and

Big John Store Road from Cornwallis Road to Bethel Church Road; Hickory Tree Road; US Hwy 301 from Reid Road to Serenity Place – 57 customers signed-up and paid.

The base bid also covers the Squire Booster Pump, the Hickory Hollow Booster Pump and pays for new radio read meters countywide. Another $100,000 of the project will be used for a modification to the existing Pea Hill Creek (Lake Gaston area) pressure reducing valve.

All totaled, Phase V’s base bid will results in 31 miles of new water mains to the existing system and serve approximately 227 potential new customers.

Northampton County Public Works Director Jason Morris said after looking at the money remaining from the USDA loan and grant, there were not enough funds to cover the three alternates to the project – roughly an extra $3.5 million. For that reason, only a portion of Alternate #1 was added to the project – 37 potential customers on a segment of the Jackson By-Pass Road (at an estimated construction cost of $798,454), 29 possible new accounts on Galatia Road and Britton Road ($759,154), and nine households on Pleasant Grove Road to the Jackson By-Pass Road ($202,154).

Morris earlier stated to this newspaper that he believes the number of customers will increase once construction begins on the water lines.

“We have customers already signed-up and paid to connect to the county water system in these areas. What typically occurs upon the start-up of installing the new water lines is that others living in these areas who did not initially take the opportunity to sign-up will want to do so once the project begins. It’s easier and cheaper to add those new customers as the lines are being installed,” Morris stated.

Morris did add that segment 7W (Henry Kee Road, to Pleasant Grove Road, to Hargrave Road to the water tank) may be added at an estimated cost of $345,000.

“There is money in the project budget for contingency,” he stated. “Come towards the end of the project, if there is money remaining, plus the contingency, there is the possibility of adding segment 7W, but I would like to wait towards the end of the project to ensure the funding is there.”

By the completion of Phase V, Morris stated that approximately 5,250 customers will be served by the county’s public water system. Phase I was installed in 1984.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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