Water line replacement cost continues to grow

By Hank Lohmeyer

The estimated cost of replacing the main water line running along South Grand Mesa Drive (Hwy. 65) is going up again even before a funding plan for the work is in place.

Town staff informed trustees at their Jan. 12 work session that the project is looking like a $1.2 million to $1.3 million project now. The town board wants to apply for a grant of $300,000 to help pay for the work which town staff says Cedaredge cannot afford to pay for on its own.

Initially a small water line replacement project was planned to fix the most failure prone domestic water line in town, running along the north side of Greenwood Avenue and serving residences along the quarter-mile-long cul-de-sac. The public works department estimates that some $14,000 has been spent in the past six years making 19 different leak repairs on the failing line.

This project went out to bid over a year ago. The work was estimated at $65,000 and the plan was to fund repairs from the budget. However, bids came back $100,000 over the estimated cost.

This led town hall to shift into grant funding mode. But grants for such a small project, under $200,000, weren't found. So the project was partnered with another water line replacement need: the main water line that runs along South Grand Mesa Drive. The main line serves a major commercial strip including restaurants and medical offices south from Centennial Avenue.

The line is overlaced with other utilities including a high pressure main gas line. That raises construction costs. And, because the main line is in a CDOT easement, other expensive construction requirements apply, including payment of federal wages to contractors.

The entire project was originally estimated at $1 million. But the additional requirements have pushed the price up to an estimated $1.2 million and likely even higher, town administrator Katie Sickles told trustees on Jan 12.

Details for funding are still being worked on.