Workers make ‘significant progress’ on water main project
The old and the new — rusted water lines dating back to 1880 sit beside new lines waiting to be installed near The River Garden in Brattleboro on April 18.

Workers make ‘significant progress’ on water main project

Brattleboro Selectboard ratifies single bid for fast-tracked replacement of century-old infrastructure

BRATTLEBORO — Last week, the Main Street Water Line Replacement Project crossed two big tasks off its list.

First, contractor Zaluzny Excavating of Vernon installed approximately 150 feet of new 12-inch ductile-iron water pipe and four new valves along the east side of Main Street.

Director of Public Works Steve Barrett told the Selectboard at its April 16 meeting that the successful installation will make the rest of the project move quickly.

“Now we're off and running up the street,” Barrett said.

Next, the Selectboard ratified Zaluzny's bid of $178,143.

The project has operated under a tight deadline because the work must complete before the Strolling of the Heifers weekend in June.

To keep the process moving, the Selectboard earlier this month granted Town Manager Peter Elwell the authority to award the project's bid rather than wait until the board could meet again.

As it happened, the town only received one bid.

Elwell said he felt comfortable awarding the one bid because Zaluzny has worked successfully with the town in the past, including the extensive sidewalk project a few years ago. The engineer working on the project also vetted the bid, Elwell added, and felt the bid matched what the town needed.

Barrett explained that his department had posted the bid to the Vermont Bid List, which automatically alerts contractors who opted into the service to the bid request. He could only speculate as to why the town received only one bid.

The bid came in $28,143 over the town's estimate of $150,000.

“It was hard to put a number on this one,” Barrett said.

Barrett explained that the project is trickier than his department first expected. For example, the contractors must dig through nine inches of concrete road, some patches of cobblestones, and then another five to six inches of asphalt, he said.

Contractors must also maneuver around several sprinkler services in the compact strip on the east side of Main Street between #133 and #165.

A ruptured sprinkler line valve precipitated the project. In February the valve broke, sending 160,000 gallons into the basement of the Brattleboro Bike Shop at 165 Main St., and the basement offices of the Strolling of the Heifers at 157 Main St.

The project includes removing a section of 8-inch pipe, circa 1880, and replacing it with a 12-inch water main, Barrett said.

Crews will also repair a portion of sidewalk near 167 Main that was damaged during the flood and subsequent repairs.

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