Large bid puts project on hold

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Two West Lafayette wastewater lift stations, which pump water from one spot to another, need improvements after serving the community for a combined 90 years. About $600,000 is making officials go back to the drawing board.

“Before we build anything whether it be a water project, whether it be a road, we always go ahead and do a cost estimate,” West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis said. “That’s what allows us to be able to have a supportive capital plan each year. We try to make sure we stick to that capital plan.”

That capital plan estimated improvements at the Sheraton and Fairway Knolls lift stations to cost $2.1 million. When the project went out to bid, the city got only a single response from Atlas Excavating at a price of $2.7 million.

City officials rejected the bid Tuesday.

“It’s something I don’t want to take too long with, but I want to make sure we are spending our dollars wisely,” said West Lafayette Utility Director Dave Henderson.

The project will be paid with a State Revolving Fund loan. A new round of funding starts in July. Henderson said after that he will come back looking for new bids.

Until then, he is looking at ways to bring the bids down.

“High efficiency pumps, the back-up generator of course adds some costs to it,” Henderson said. “We’re going to look at our choices of equipment, something that can do the same job that may be a little less expensive.”

With one lift station in use since 1963 and the other since 1974, they have been waiting a long time for improvements.

“It’s a safety issue when I have people in to perform maintenance,” Henderson said. “We don’t have backup power. We have a place to hook up a portable generator, but I would like to have on site generators.”

City officials are hoping more bids will come back the second time around. Henderson said one reason for the low number of bidders is the already large number of projects available during summer construction season.

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