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Saranac Lake water overhaul ‘95 percent’ done

June 13, 2012
By CHRIS KNIGHT - Senior Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - Some significant work still lies ahead, but the end appears to be in sight for village's $12.5 million water project.

Updates on that project, the village's water meter and sidewalk projects, and spring flood remediation were all provided at the village Board of Trustees meeting Monday night.

The village's engineering consultant, Chris Lawton of Barton and Loguidice, said crews will work over the next week to put in the last sections of pipe for the water project, in which the village's water source, currently McKenzie Pond, will be replaced by a pair of wells behind the village wastewater treatment plant. A host of water main upgrades are required, and Lawton said they'll transition to the startup phase of the project by the end of the month.

"I'd probably say we're approaching 95 percent (completion) right now," Lawton said. "Of the items that remain, there's some significant tasks, and most of them involve work on the well site itself and the startup of the system."

At Lawton's request, the board approved a $49,000 change order to its contract with J.E. Sheehan Construction to cover the cost of a "revised Route 3 crossing" at its intersection with Pine Street.

Lawton said it was originally thought, based on state Department of Transportation drawings, that the existing water main under Route 3 was a 12-inch pipe, but crews have since discovered that the pipe is 6 inches in diameter. Lawton said that smaller-capacity pipe could present problems in getting water from the new wells across the village and up to the existing water storage tank on View Street, so the $49,000 change order will cover the cost of installing a 16-inch pipe under Route 3.

That's one of three areas where village Manager John Sweeney said crews will put in new sections of water main over the next several days. The others are at the intersection of McClelland Street and Broadway, where work was taking place Tuesday, and on St. Bernard Street, where it will happen next week. Traffic in those areas may be restricted to one lane at times, Sweeney said.

Paving the streets where water new water mains have been installed will happen in a few weeks, Lawton said. He said there will be about $400,000 left in the budget to do paving, and the village will have to prioritize the roads it wants repaved.

Water from the wells will start flowing sometime in August or September, although Lawton said the contractor will be required to run the new water system for at least two weeks to ensure it's working properly.

"It will actually be flowing up to the tank, but we won't actually be putting water in the system," he said. "There will be periods where Kevin (Pratt, of the village Department of Public Works) is going to flush the system because it's gone in one direction for 100 years, and we're going to try to slowly bleed it from the other direction, so Kevin can get a handle on how it affects his system.

"I would say expect a couple months. It could be sooner, but I don't want everyone to think that it's just a switch that all of a sudden activates."


Water meters

Lawton also updated the board on the $1 million, grant-funded water meter project, which has lagged for two years and still hasn't been completed. The original contractor, tasked with installing more than 2,000 water meters throughout the village, went bankrupt, and a new one was assigned through a bonding company to finish the job.

The contractor has completed all the new meter installations it was required to do, and there's some money left over on the grant, Lawton said. He said those funds can be used for the purchase of large meters the village could use to replace the meters on roughly a dozen commercial businesses.


FEMA projects

In the meantime, the village is preparing to seek bids on five contracts that will cover an estimated $1 million in repairs to retaining walls and other infrastructure damaged in the spring 2011 floods. Lawton said the Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover 87-and-a-half percent of the bill, while the village's share will be approximately $130,000.

The list of projects includes repairs to a crumbling retaining wall and other work in Hydro Point Park, below the Lake Flower Dam. Reconstruction of walls on Alpine Terrace and Pelkey Lane, and a section of the Pelkey Lane roadway, are also planned. Two small projects will also be bid: fixing a wall on the former village office building at 3 Main St. and concrete work in the village Water Department building at 17 Main St.

Bids will be opened July 11 and the contracts awarded later that month. Lawton said he thinks most of the work can be done this construction season.

Sweeney said the village is still negotiating with FEMA over the most costly flood-related remediation project: replacement of the final clarifiers at the wastewater treatment plant.



Later in the meeting, Sweeney updated the board on the progress of the village's $1 million sidewalk overhaul. He said the replacement of sidewalks on Main Street and Broadway in the downtown has essentially wrapped up. The next task is St. Bernard Street, where village crews have removed the old sidewalks. New sidewalks will be poured there after work on the water lines is completed.

Sweeney said the village will soon be ready to go out to bid for replacing all the other sidewalks the village planned to do this year, some 3,000 linear feet.

"It's aggressive, but we'll see how it goes," he said.

Trustee Tom Catillaz complimented the village and its contractor, Fuller Excavation, for its work on the sidewalks.

"It happened faster than I thought it would, and with fewer delays than I thought it would," he said.



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