Old pipes costing Evanston $60K above projections

Bailey Williams, Assistant City Editor

Evanston is shelling out an additional $60,000 to cover repairs for water main and sewer construction downtown.

According to city documents, a third of Evanston’s water mains are more than 100 years old and more than half are more than 80 years old. City Council approved an increased payment Monday to the contractor who completed construction on water main and sewer replacements on Davis Street. The contract change is increasing the project’s total cost to just over $2.7 million, according to city documents. 

Evanston aldermen authorized city manager Wally Bobkiewicz to increase the city’s contract with Bolder Contractors, Inc. by $60,592.43. 

The money will come from the city’s Water Fund and Sewer Fund, according to the city documents.

In May, City Council approved a contract allowing for the replacement of the Davis Street water main, which extends from Benson Avenue to Hinman Avenue near downtown Evanston. Council also approved the replacement of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago sewer, which extends from Orrington Avenue to the alley east of Hinman Avenue. Repairs were initially expected to cost nearly $2.65 million. 

Predicting the cost of these projects is nearly impossible, said Homayoon Pirooz, assistant director of public works. Pirooz explained that it was normal for the costs to change, especially for underground utility work.

The construction of the water mains required more money than anticipated, Pirooz said.

“Because the work is already completed, we owe the contractor the extra dollars,” Pirooz said.

That amount is leaving out the $9,000 for which Bolder Contractors was penalized after violating Evanston’s Local Employment Program.  

Although the Davis Street water and sewer main construction is finished, additional projects in Evanston are coming up. Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) held a ward meeting Wednesday to inform residents of water main construction this summer on Washington Street. 

The plan being offered in the 2nd Ward would prevent a gaping hole in the middle of the street, Braithwaite said. The plan aims to make use of water main lining, which will disrupt less traffic and have fewer environmental effects, city documents said. The alternative plan should speed up the process and save money, Braithwaite said. He added the timeline for the construction is yet to be determined, but should not be longer than 90 days.

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