Crews work on Sullivan Street. Photo by LCGross
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Miami sewer project repair continues

After the Town of Miami sewer project repairs continued through the 2019 holidays, the Sullivan Street portion is scheduled for completion in about 10 days, Engineer Tech Josh Derhammer said Friday. 

Then, it’s onto Plaza Avenue for a few days. “Paving in those areas will be completed shortly thereafter,” he said.

From there, the Town’s contractor, KE&G Construction, will move to Canyon Avenue, where it will likely be for a month or so, working on the sewer portion of the project, Derhammer said.

At its Nov. 25, 2019 regular meeting, the Miami Town Council voted to allow KE&G to do the repair work for Phase 2, which involves only three streets—Sullivan Street and Canyon and Plaza Avenues.

The $90,000 cost is for time and materials only, said Miami Town Manager Joe Heatherly, explaining that it does not include paving on Canyon Avenue, which would need to be sent out to bid.

Miami Town Manager Joe Heatherly
Photo by Carol Broeder

Councilman Mike Black argued that, as the worst of the three streets, Canyon Avenue should be done first. Heatherly replied, however, that waiting for the estimated cost of paving Canyon Avenue would hold up the project for at least 60 days. Instead, Heatherly wanted to get the project underway, with Sullivan Street first, before the Town’s contract with KE&G expires.

After Black’s motion was moved and seconded, Heatherly reiterated that the delay could extend the project about nine months, as the contract would expire and the whole project would have to go out to bid again. 

Confirming that Heatherly was correct, Town Attorney Sue Goodwin added that the delay would “change the whole structure” of the Town’s agreement with U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service (USDA-RUS) for funding the sewer project. “I don’t think the council wants to do that,” Goodwin said.

Ultimately, the council voted to go ahead with the sewer project repairs in the order Heatherly recommended.

Also at its Nov. 25 meeting, the council voted to pay $7,700 per week, or nearly $30,000, to Hilgart-Wilson for providing  construction management services for the project. While Heatherly believed it would be completed in two months, the contract allows for an extra two-and-a-half months, he said.

KE&G is completing repair work from Phase 2 of the five-phase Miami Wastewater Collection Improvements Project, which was funded by the USDA monies. On Aug. 22, 2017, the Town filed a lawsuit against Kinkaid Civil Construction for deficient work in Phase 2 leading to sinkhole issues. The matter is currently in negotiations to reach a possible settlement agreement.

Sewer repair on Sullivan. Photo by LCGross

The 14-month project was to replace or repair entire sections of sewer and transition some residents from septic to a sewer system. Each of the phases included money to repair streets damaged in the process.

Project funding was from a combination of grants and a loan. Referred to as an  “80/20 split,” 80% was from a USDA-RUS grant of nearly $20 million and 20% from incurred debt.

USDA-RUS approved the grant agreement for the project cost estimated at about $19.5 million. The Town is responsible for paying back a loan in the amount of 20% of the project cost. 

With council approval in 2019, the Town accepted a Water Infrastructure Financing Authority of Arizona (WIFA) loan for its sewer project for a loan amount not to exceed $3.9 million, contingent upon fulfilling USDA requirements.

Laying in new sewer. Photo by LCGross

Heatherly told the council at its Dec. 23, 2019 meeting that while Phase 2 of the project had “lots of issues and conflicts,” Phases 3 to 5 had “some but not a lot,”coming in at about $1 million under budget. He credited both KE&G for good construction work as well as Hilgart-Wilson for good project management.

 

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