COLUMBUS — The city is starting the construction process on the new solid waste transfer station, even though a permit to build hasn’t been issued.
Columbus City Council gave the OK this week for city staff to begin preparing bid documents for the earthwork needed ahead of construction at the 570 S. 14th Ave. site.
According to HDR Inc., the Omaha engineering firm hired to assist with the project, it will cost approximately $601,000 to prepare the ground just north of the current transfer station before new buildings can be constructed.
About 60,000 cubic yards of dirt will be needed to create roads and foundations for the buildings, surcharge the area where the main transfer station building will be located and complete other work.
John Dempsey of HDR Inc. told the council Monday night that 10 feet of soil must be piled on the new construction area — about 78,500 square feet in size — to compact the ground below. The settlement process should take one to two months and drop the ground level about 3 inches, he said.
The excess soil will then be used for roads, landscaping and other projects.
Dempsey said about half the soil needed for the preconstruction work will come from on-site and the other half will likely be trucked in. The contractor could elect to use more on-site dirt, he added, depending on how high the water table is when the work is performed.
Purchasing all the dirt from off-site would add about $200,000 to the project’s cost, according to Dempsey.
Part of the concern with using on-site dirt is it must be taken from a “borrow area” that could potentially create a wetland.
Dempsey said the borrow area, currently estimated at 128,564 square feet, won’t necessarily be considered a wetland if it fills with water. That designation, he said, also is dependent on plant growth and other factors.
The 4-acre borrow pit created when the transfer station was first constructed is now a wetland under the control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
A potential solution outlined by Dempsey is to fill in the borrow area once the upcoming project is complete. He said soil from the transfer station’s foundation could be used for this purpose if the current building is torn down.
Because the current transfer station is rapidly deteriorating, City Administrator Joe Mangiamelli said the plan is to advertise for bids on the earthwork while the permit to build is still being considered by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.
The bidding process is expected to take about two months and the earthwork could take another two months to complete. Mangiamelli said pushing the bidding process back until after the permit is approved could delay the nearly $4 million project by several months.
He told the council the city should have a better feel for whether the permit will be approved before a company is hired to complete the preconstruction work.
Dempsey said HDR Inc. hasn’t identified any issues that could cause the permit to be denied.
In other business, the council:
- accepted activity and meal subsidies from Northeast Nebraska Area Agency on Aging for Columbus Senior Center. The state and federal funding, up to $47,144, will cover approximately 20 percent of the costs to operate the senior center.
- agreed to seek bids to extend water and sewer mains, add paving and install a storm sewer to serve Centennial Park Sixth Addition, an 18-lot affordable housing project located on five acres between Third and Fifth avenues just north of Centennial Street and northeast of Centennial Elementary School. The approximately $275,000 project will be funded with a grant awarded to NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.
- approved a 20-year land lease agreement with Mid-State Aviation II Inc. of Cozad for a loading pad on .08 acres at Columbus Municipal Airport. The company will pay $910 per year with that rate adjusted every five years based on the consumer price index.
- agreed to apply for Federal Transit Administration funds to purchase a lift-equipped bus for Columbus Area Transit. The approximately $55,000 bus would replace an aging bus. Federal funds would cover $44,000 of the purchase and the city would pay the remaining $11,000.
- approved a $16,720 purchase from Raschig Jaeger Technologies to replace packing media used in the water treatment process at the water production/Superfund treatment plant. The purchase is covered by the grant money provided to the city to operate the Superfund site.
- approved a $12,234 purchase from Hach Company of Loveland, Colo., to replace equipment used in the treatment process at the wastewater treatment facility.
- approved an $18,935 contract with Rutjen’s Construction Inc. of Tilden to relocate a 15-inch storm sewer main in the former Christopher’s Cove Subdivision.
- approved a $317,034 contract with Gehring Construction & Ready Mix Co. Inc. of Columbus to complete the 2013 street construction project, which replaces deteriorating sections of concrete streets throughout the city.
- created sewer and water extension districts to serve two properties along East 12th Avenue just south of 23rd Street. The approximately $40,000 project will extend sewer and water mains to serve a building owned by Sand Bar Solutions LLC on the east side of East 12th Avenue and an undeveloped property to the west. The property owners will be assessed the costs of the work.