Lincolnwood connection to Evanston’s water out to bid
by KEVIN GROSS
The Lincolnwood Village Board of Trustees at its July 17 meeting directed staff to issue a $12.9 million bid for a water transmission main project that will deliver cheaper drinking water from the City of Evanston after learning that the project is over budget and could cost $3 million more above initial estimates.
"The Village of Skokie told us up front that they want us to stay 5 feet away from all its facilities, and they gave us paper atlases that showed all of their pipes. …What we found when our engineers physically surveyed the sites was that the atlases Skokie provided us were incorrect," public works director Andrew Letson said. He explained that the mapping errors would push some of the Lincolnwood water pipes – which cross Skokie to reach Evanston – closer to existing sewers than originally planned, thus requiring about $1 million of unforeseen sewer-lining work that is over budget.
The water pipes would run from Evanston along Oakton Street, south down Hamlin Avenue to Pratt Avenue, west on Pratt, south on Springfield Avenue and connect with Lincolnwood’s reservoir at Springfield ant Arthur avenues.
"Any time that you put a water main into the ground that comes within 10 feet of a sewer, the ideal is you either have to line that sewer or replace whatever comes between 10 feet of the sewer and water pipe," Letson said. "The idea is that you don’t want to have any sort of acid dripping from the sewer pipe finding its way into the water main."
He said that additional work would be added to the project, such as replacement of the old existing control valves and piping at the village’s water reservoir, increasing the cost of the connection from the transmission main to the reservoir from $67,000 to $317,000. Also, the Village of Skokie has requested that Lincolnwood cover an additional $657,000 in Skokie roadway resurfacing or replacement of Skokie’s water mains where Lincolnwood’s new mains would intersect.
Additional factors, such as a 10 percent increase in tariff-related costs by ductile iron pipe suppliers have increased the estimated price of the required project construction to $9,760,000.
About $3,166,000 worth of other optional work, such as replacement of aging water mains under Hamlin, Springfield, Arthur and Lunt avenues, resurfacing of certain roads, relining of village sewers or preparation for replacing possible contaminated soil, could increase possible construction expenses to $12,926,000, for a potential total cost of $14,208,456 including permitting and oversight.
The 20-inch transmission main itself is estimated to cost $7,231,000, while the cost increases could increase the village’s yearly general obligation bond payments from $731,000 to $935,000.
"To the extent we didn’t communicate this better, I apologize," said Christopher Burke, founder and president of Christopher Burke Engineering that was contracted for project oversight. "But all the recommendations are still in the best interest of the village."
Letson explained that the $12.9 million bid doesn’t necessarily reflect the final cost of the project, and that it would allow them to collect "real world" estimates for the optional work that trustees could individually approve or deny in the future. The village could still choose to return to its $9.7 million "base bid" that only covers required work.
The project, if completed by October of 2020, would allow Lincolnwood to receive cheaper potable water from Evanston, with the current rate at $1.44 per 1,000 gallons through 2023, versus its current water connection to the City of Chicago, which has increased water rates from $1.33 to $3.94 per 1,000 gallons since Lincolnwood began purchasing water from Chicago years ago.
Lincolnwood would save about $100,000 per month in water costs through 2023, with the savings used to pay for the new water main and residents’ water rates proposed to stay flat through 2023. After then, Lincolnwood residents would see an estimated 2 percent annual increase in water rates, in accordance with Evanston’s anticipated annual water rate hikes.
Also at the meeting, trustees approved a special use for a new animal hospital at 6927 N. Lincoln Ave. with a contentious 4-3 vote with Mayor Barry Bass casting the tie-breaking vote, as trustees Atour Toma Sargon, Ronald Cope and Georjean Hlepas-Nickell voted no due to neighbors’ concerns of possible unsanitary conditions stemming from animals visiting the facility.
The development was made possible by the trustees’ prior 4-2 vote that night to establish the new zoning special use for veterinarian’s offices and animal hospitals within the village’s B-1 business districts. Trustees Nickell and Cope voted against creating the special use.
Trustees also approved an appropriation ordinance for all corporate purposes for fiscal year 2019-20 in the amount of $$63,296,081, which includes $18,963,692 to be spent on projects through the water and sewer funds, $3,053,996 for public works street maintenance, $3,280,375 for total debt service, $5,209,500 for storm water management, and $26,365,444 in general fund expenditures.