The first portion of repairing underground sewer lines in Warsaw will begin later this winter and it turns out the scope of the project has grown.
The project involves relining and replacing pipes and repairing some manholes. City officials mapped out specific areas that needed immediate work, and the project was expected to cost about $10 million.
But bids for the project came in lower than expected and the city then worked to expand the project by about 20 percent, according to Mayor Joe Thallemer.
The original plan involved repairs and replacement to about 75,000 lineal feet of pipes, but the city will now be able to repair and replace as much as 90,000 feet.
The city had already awarded bids to contractors for the work, but on Friday, the Board of Public Works and Safety approved change orders to accommodate the bigger project.
The first stage of construction could begin in about two months and will involve relining pipes, a maneuver that will extend the life of the pipes for upward of five decades.
The relining can be done without tearing up streets.
Another portion of the work involving replacement of pipes will not begin until at least spring. That will involve more visible construction.
Originally, the city planned to replace pipes stretching across 12 city blocks, many of which are in or near the downtown area where some of the oldest pipes exist.
With the savings, that part of the project also will expand.
Some of the pipes are more than 100 years old and have been crumbling in recent years.
Last year, the city saw at least two portions of roadway collapse because dirt below had shifted after the pipes gave way.
Those incidents created a sense of urgency in seeking major renovations to the sewer system.
The city is using a state revolving loan program for the first phase that will save the city about $3.5 million in the life of the loan. A sewer rate hike was approved last year to pay for the first phase.
Plans to seek approval from city council for another rate hike are on the horizon later this year and will support the second phase, a $31 million expansion of the city’s sewer treatment plant.
In other matters, the board approved 19 contracts for services that will be provided in 2018. Those include 16 involving park programs. Five of those were for the annual family carnival.
Another nine contacts were signed for the first phase of the sewer project. Those involve the following contractors: Layne Inliner, of Orleans; Selge Construction, of Mishawaka; Insituform Technologies USA, of Orland Park, Ill.; and Wessler Engineering, of Fort Wayne.