Fairfield to award multi-million contract for project along major road

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Fairfield to award multi-million contract for project along major road

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Michael Pitman
About a two-mile stretch of water main will be replaced along Ohio 4 from Nilles Road to just north of Bypass Ohio 4. Most of the work will be done a night to minimize impact on daytime traffic and businesses. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

A two-mile stretch of Ohio 4 will be under construction for much of the spring and all of the summer as a new water main is installed.

Howell Contractors, of Fort Wright, Ky., was the lowest bidder out of seven construction companies for the multi-million project. The winning bid of $2.64 million was about $500,000 under the engineer’s estimate. City Council will vote on the contract on Monday.

The work will replace the city’s 60-year-old water main pipe from Nilles Road to just north of Bypass Ohio 4. The pipe has experienced a disproportionate number of water main breaks since 2014 — nearly 200 total water main breaks had occurred in the city since 2014 — and is why Fairfield Public Utilities Director Adam Sackenheim calls it one of the city’s most critical projects.

The work will have some effect on local businesses, but he believes the impact won’t be too inconvenient.

“We’ll preserve access into and out of those businesses (on Ohio 4) to the best of our ability,” said Sackenheim, “which is why the bulk of that work will be done at night, to try to minimize the disruption to the commercial businesses.”

Fairfield’s Public Works Department will assist with the project, and city engineer Ben Mann said that includes inspection and oversight of the construction. A part-time contractor with Lexington, Ky.-based GRW Engineers — the company that drew the project’s plans — will be monitoring the overnight work, he said.

This project comes a year after Duke Energy conducted utility work along the same stretch of road, and a year before Ohio 4 will be repaved. Mann said the plans and budget for the repaving project aren’t finalized, but could be between $3 million and $3.5 million.

Paul Bricking, Howell Contractor’s vice president, said he anticipates starting the water main project on May 1 and at the northern end of the project at Nilles Road.

“With any luck we’ll get it done by the summer,” he said.

Most of the work will be done down the center of Ohio 4. The water main runs along the right-of-way on the southbound side of Ohio 4 by Nilles Road. The pipe runs down the center of Ohio 4 from Camelot to just past Holden Boulevard. The end of the line runs along the right-of-way on the northbound side of Ohio 4.

Bricking said the project was attractive to his company because the slow economy has impacted his business, and larger water main projects are in Howell’s wheelhouse.

Seven construction companies submitted bids, but Sackenheim said there was a greater interest where twice the number of contractors attended a pre-bid meeting.

“I think it’s a project that will keep a medium-sized firm busy four to six months in the summer, and that’s appealing to a contractor,” he said.

There was also a lot of interest because it was bid in February — when many contractors plan out their summer business schedule — and most municipal projects aren’t bid out or advertised until the spring, or early summer.

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