by Dawn Fedderson-Poindexter
The Otsego City Council learned that the cold spring has driven up the price of contractor labor as they received higher-than-expected quotes on two residential street projects at their June 10 meeting.
“Because of the cold spring, everyone is behind,” Otsego City Engineer Ron Wagner said. “Last year, everyone had completed their first project in April or May. Now everyone has plenty of work to do, so if they want to take on these projects, they’re looking at overtime for their crew.”
Wagner had originally estimated $40,000 for storm sewer improvements on Kadler Avenue, just south of 101st Street, but the lowest quote came in at $47,121. The council agreed to award the contract and go ahead with the project.
High quotes for another project, however, had them considering other options. Planned storm sewer improvements on Needham Avenue, south of 85th Street, were deemed necessary owing to the fact that the existing pipe system had collapsed and the existing culverts and ditches are not graded properly to promote drainage.
The lowest quote the city received for the project was $69,210. The original estimate was $44,000. Wagner suggested that the narrow tree-lined street was a tight space to work in, which may have increased the potential cost.
Wagner suggested there might be a way to cut the project in half. The original plan was to replace the entire pipe and, out of necessity, the road above it. He suggested replacing the pipe just up to the current break while still regrading the ditches and resetting the culverts.
Councilmember Jason Warehime was in favor of the scaled back project. Mayor Jessica Stockamp was concerned that it would only be a temporary solution that might lead to another large project down the road once other areas of the pipe failed.
The council directed Wagner to do a televised scope of the pipe to determine if there were any other issues with the rest of it. They will make their decision once that data is available.