Monroe County Commissioners give update on Juliette water project

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JULIETTE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Monroe County Commissioners unanimously approved a contract Tuesday, with United Grading & Excavating to install 69,600 feet of water lines for the first contract of Phase 2 of the ongoing Juliette water project.

United Grading & Excavating was the lowest of seven bidders with a bid amount of just under $4.5 million. The company was also the contractor on two of the three contracts associated with Phase 1 of the project.

Phase 2 of Contract 1 spans over 13 miles. It includes water mains on Hwy. 18 ranging from 3799 Dames Ferry Road to Hwy. 87. It then includes all of Hwy. 87 up to its intersection with Newton Road and a portion of Christian Road.

The project, which is the longest of the nine portions of the total Juliette water project, is expected to take about eight months to complete.

The county’s water engineering firm, Carter Engineering, initially projected a cost of about $3.3 million for the project. However, the cost of PVC pipe has risen dramatically over the past few months after two hurricanes it Lake Charles, Louisiana last fall. Destruction left by the hurricanes caused a slowing of production of PVC resin at four leading manufacturing plants in Lake Charles. Therefore the cost of PVC pipe has soared. Due to the unforeseen cost increase, Commissioners decided last October to postpone bidding out the project for about three months in hopes prices would return to normal.

However, County Manager Jim Hedges was notified last month that PVC pipe prices will still be up at least 30 percent from the same time a year prior. So rather than waiting any longer, Commissioners have moved forward despite a cost increase of about 35 percent of what was initially projected.

Hedges said the additional $1.2 million in costs will come from the project’s contingency fund, which currently has just over $1.7 million available. However, he expects the amount of contingency remaining to rise to about $1 million once the actual cost of Phase 1 is finalized, and several private roads initially included in Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the project are potentially eliminated.

Meanwhile, Contract 2 oh Phase 2 is currently being advertised for bid on Friday, March 5. The project calls for 37,050 feet of water main to be installed on Juliette-area roads including: Camellia Plant Road, Bowdoin Road, Luther Smith Road, Hilltop Street, McCrackin Street, Marvin Circle, Newton Road and Juliette Road from its intersection with McCrackin Street on the east side of Hwy. 87 to its intersection with Newton Road on the west side of Hwy. 87.

The project is expected to take about six months to complete once the bid is awarded next month.