Norwich Council Awards Bid For Water Main Replacement Project
Published: April 14th, 2023
By: Sarah Genter

Norwich council awards bid for water main replacement project City of Norwich Common Council members at the April 4 special common council meeting, where they voted to award the construction bid to Vacri Construction Corporation for the water main replacement project. (Photo by Sarah Genter)

NORWICH — The City of Norwich Common Council voted at an April 4 special meeting to award the bid for the water main replacement project to Vacri Construction Corporation, based in Binghamton, at the expected contractor costs of $3,630,000.

The water main replacement project will cost an approximate total of $4 million.

The city had already allocated $479,233 in a capital reserve fund allocated for the project, and also had $670,767 in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

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At the beginning of this year, the city announced it had also been awarded $2.85 million in federal grant money in the omnibus government funding bill for fiscal year 2023 to be put toward the project.

The grant money eliminated the need for loan funding, saving the city from additional debt and taxpayer burden.

Although the funds have already been awarded to the city, City of Norwich Community Development Director Erik Scrivener said they must now go through the application process with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who will be administering the grant.

"They haven’t sent out their 2023 application yet, so that is one thing we’re waiting on, is to get that. So we were awarded the funds, they’re set up for the City of Norwich. We got them through the application with the congressionally directed spending," he explained. "But now we need to fill out our application with the EPA even though this finding is marked for the City of Norwich, we still have to go through those steps with the EPA and their process."

In a worst case scenario example, Scrivener said if the grant would not be processed in time to cover the cost of the water main replacement project, the city has a loan with the USDA they could use if needed. If that happens, the city wouldn't lose the $2.85 million grant, either.

"Let’s just say, worst case scenario, that we had to use the full USDA loan on this project. We would still get the 2.85 million [dollars] for a water project, it may just not be this one," said Scrivener. "But that’s absolute worst case scenario. That is not our intention. Our intention is to use the 2.85 million [dollars] on this. But we have no concern of losing the 2.85 [million dollars]."

"We’re not going to lose the money, we would just have to reallocate it to another water project. So the money’s ours, it’s just a timing thing with this water main project," he continued. "Our hands are tied until it’s there. So we’ve done everything we can and we're still at that point. We’re ready to act as soon as it’s open."

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The planned project area includes 5,760 feet of piping on South Broad Street, approximately spanning from the Prentice and Broad Street intersection to the Mechanic and Broad Street intersection, and a 640-foot section of East Main Street between the Broad Street intersection and the railroad tracks, for a total of 1.2 miles in pipe replacement.

Although a date has not been set for the project to begin, in January Scrivener was hopeful construction work would begin in April. The project bid awarded to Vacri stipulates a project completion deadline of August 31 of this year.

Following the water main replacement, Department of Public Works (DPW) Superintendent Ed Pepe said the Department of Transportation (DOT) will be repaving South Broad Street, North Broad Street, and East Main Street.

Pepe also said the DPW and Vacri will be holding a construction meeting in the near future to discuss notifying residents and businesses in the construction area of potential changes in traffic.