In a historic milestone, Payson last week awarded three contracts totaling $1.1 million to fulfill decades of effort by starting construction on the Blue Ridge pipeline.
Even better, the bids came in a startling $900,000 below engineering estimates — and two of the three contracts went to local firms.
The first three projects awarded will focus on upgrading water lines in town so they can handle the gush of some 3,000 acre-feet annually, much of which will wind up injected into the town’s once-dwindling water table.
“We spent 39 years and spent $13 million getting to this point,” said Buzz Walker who for decades has pushed the project along from one council to the next. “This is a big deal at a great price. It was designed locally by Tetra Tech and they did a superb job.”
Walker took satisfaction that locally owned C.J. Excavating landed two of the contracts, although the largest contract is going to T&T Construction in Fountain Hills.
Town officials for months have worried local firms would lack the expertise and the economies of scale necessary to put in a competitive bid.
“Two thirds of the contracts went to local firms and it’s fitting to recognize the contributions of those local firms and that they’re stepping up to the bar and saving taxpayers a lot of money,” said Walker.
Payson Mayor Kenny Evans then interjected, “these contracts are the result of the superior intelligence and management skills of Mr. Walker.”
Councilor Michael Hughes agreed. “For 30 years, his name has been synonymous with this project.”
“Gosh,” joked Councilor Fred Carpenter, “with all this flowing, I wish I’d worn my hip boots tonight — but I quite agree.”
The three projects approved last Thursday will lay the groundwork for the arrival of the water in 2014.
Those projects include:
Hwy. 87 to Mud Springs: The contractor will install nearly a mile of 18-inch diameter iron pipe. The line will run from State Route 87, down Zurich Drive, Evergreen Street and Park Drive all the way to North Mud Springs Road. The contractor bid $705,000, compared to an engineer’s estimate of about $1.3 million.
Hwy. 87 to Airport Road: This 8-inch iron and PVC pipe will run two-thirds of a mile from State Route 87 south of Airport Road, west and north along the Elks Club property line and then west along Airport Road to just east of the South Falconcrest Drive intersection. The bid came in at $253,000, although the consulting engineer guessed it would cost $537,000.
Rumsey Drive Line: This 12-inch PVC pipe water line will run 1,446 feet from 401 W. Rumsey Drive, west to Rumsey Park, across Rumsey 1 ball field to just east of the new Rumsey ball fields. The bid came in at $194,000, compared to the engineer’s estimate of $256,000.