VALPARAISO | It was almost like divine intervention. Valparaiso needed to get rid of a lot of dirt, and St. Paul Church needed a lot of dirt to fill its backyard.
The dirt will come from a detention basin next to the church property on Harrison Boulevard as part of the Chautauqua Park flood relief project. The city's Utilities Board approved a contract with G.E. Marshall, of Valparaiso, for construction of the first phase of the project for $2,881,828 on Tuesday.
Marshall was the lowest of 10 bidders for the project, which includes the detention basin, an outlet to Beauty Creek, a trunk line from the basin to the neighborhood, sewer mains on Bond, Ridgeland and Grove avenues and side streets, and branches off the trunk line down Yellowstone Road to George Street and Avondale Avenue.
Deputy Engineering Director Adam McAlpine said the company will get the notice to proceed by mid-March for clearing the trees to make a path from the basin to the church property and to begin staging for the rest of the project. The city is in court to obtain the final 10-acre parcel needed for the basin. That process is expected to be completed in mid-April so basin excavation can begin.
The additional property also is needed for maintenance roads connecting to Harrison Boulevard and to Yellowstone Road. The whole project is to be completed in 250 days, but McAlpine said some repaving work might have to wait until the spring to be completed.
The board also approved an easement agreement with St. Paul's to allow for construction of the outlet pipe through the church property to the creek. McAlpine said the church has used dirt from other city projects in the past to fill the area behind the school for its athletic fields. The basin dirt will allow the school to further expand those fields.
The city will have to build a fence around the basin and will have to replace the trees removed to make the access road from the basin to the fill area.
Marshall's bid was about $460,000 below the nearest competitor, which raised questions from board members about the possibility of change orders increasing the price after construction starts. McAlpine said Marshall was questioned about that but was confident in its pricing, and the company did about a third of the city's storm water projects in 2012.
McAlpine said the project was budgeted for about $4 million, and the money saved will go toward the second phase. Plans for the second phase, involving the southern half of the Chautauqua Park neighborhood, are complete, and McAlpine said the same timetable in 2014 could be followed to do it with bids sought in January and awarded by late February.
Chautauqua Park is bounded by the Canadian National tracks on the north, Campbell Street on the east, Lincolnway on the south and Yellowstone on the west.