Four bid on Forreston water main project

Some pipes are 100 years old and deteriorating

FORRESTON – Forreston Village Board members got a preview Monday on bids for water main replacements on North Walnut Street and South Oak Avenue.

Although the board members didn’t vote to accept a bid during the meeting, they are waiting for an official letter from the project engineer recommending they accept the low-bidder.

The board is presented with four bids ranging from a low of $209,258.15 from Fischer, to a high of $302,312.50 from Northern Illinois Service, Superintendent of Public Works Mark Rust said. The project engineer’s cost estimate was $216,000.

“There’s quite a spread in numbers,” Rust said. “Part of that is the cost of supplies right now. Evidently Fischer must have some supplies on hand, where some of these other ones have to order it in and the price has increased quite a bit.”

The water main on North Walnut Street between East State and Avon streets and the one on South Oak Avenue between Illinois Route 72 and East Cherry Street are projects that should have been done years ago, Rust said after the meeting.

“Both of them, it seems like once a year they’ll get a break in them and we’ll have to dig them up,” he said.

About six weeks ago, a break on North Walnut Street and Illinois Route 72 was only a few feet from the previous repair location, Rust said.

“The pipe is just bad and it’s deteriorating,” he said. “It’s just an old, old pipe.”

North Walnut Street’s water main is 90 to 100 years old and full of holes, Rust said, whereas South Oak Avenue’s water main is a 1-inch, cheap plastic pipe installed in the 1970s that serves five commercial buildings.

Both lines will be replaced with 6-inch water mains during this project, he said. Additionally, the North Walnut Street water main, which runs beneath the curb on the highway, will be moved back to beneath the sidewalk.

Infrastructure needs to be maintained, Rust said, but people don’t often think about water mains because they’re underground and out of sight.

“You’ve got an older truck or something, they see that and they think, ‘OK, we need a new truck,’ because they can see it,” he said. “But water piping is underground, and as long as residents get water out of their faucet they don’t care what kind of shape it’s in.”