Agreements for engineering services and authorizing the city manager to approve changes in the field during the Highway 9 utility extension project were approved by the Decorah City Council Monday night.
Skyline Construction of Decorah has the $2,874,119 bid for the sewer and water main improvements along Highway 9. The project, that will extend services to the Decorah Business Park, has been planned for more than a decade and will begin next month.
The Council unanimously approved a total of $270,650 with Erdman Engineering of Decorah for fees associated with the project. That includes construction staking, estimated at $24,500, construction administration, estimated at $69,200 and observation, estimated at $176,950, according to a scope of services provided by City Engineer Lindsay Erdman.
Construction staking includes water main, sanitary sewer, site and street grading, street paving, storm sewer staking and easement/right of way staking.
Construction administration covers contract administration, project documentation, shop drawings review, record drawing preparation, pre-construction conference and preparation, project payments and project closeout. The item includes a 10-percent contingency.
Construction observation is based on 200 working days plus working days allowed for multiple-site construction requiring two people and/or winter construction period. It includes project engineer site visits, and project preparation time for a construction observer. There is also a 10-percent contingency for observation.
Erdman explained there will be times when construction on a road is occurring in one place and pipe is being laid at another location, which will require more than one person observing.
Council member Chuck Lore indicated he’d like to see similar written engineering agreements in place for other city projects.
“Typically this type of agreement is the exception versus the norm, but it’s not outside the realm of doing for any type of work the Council would deem appropriate,” City Manager Chad Bird said.

‘Field decisions’
Bird requested the authority to consider field changes for the Highway 9 utility improvement project, similar to what was done during the Short Street reconstruction.
“That worked fairly well,” he said.
“Things come up in the field that need more immediate attention … rather than hold up items for your attention, I put this measure in front of the Council to consider trusting me with that authority. They must come back to you for your approval,” Bird said. “This is going to be a pretty big project going on for considerable time. There will be unknowns in the field.”
Without the authorization, changes would need to be approved at the Council’s next meeting, which could delay progress, he said.
The Council approval allows Bird to authorize an expenditure of up to $5,000 per occurrence or $25,000 per month during the project.
Lore asked if there would be a way a “couple” of Council members could be consulted before Bird gives his OK to a change.
“I’d feel a little more comfortable,” Lore said.
Council member Gary Rustad said when there was a change during the Short Street project, Bird brought it to Council members’ attention.
Bird said he could consult with Council members and that he would “keep the communication open.”
Lore was the only Council member voting against the authorization.

Change order
The Council approved a $28,860 change order related to the utility extensions Monday night.
According to Erdman, the expense is due to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources requiring a new location for the water booster station.
He told the Council half of the change order is for an additional water main and half is for an additional driveway.
Council member Randy Schissel questioned why the location wasn’t determined prior to preparing bid specifications for the project.
Erdman said when the city advertised for bids, officials were still waiting for permits from the DNR, and the location chosen was the one engineers thought was most efficient.
“We thought the permit process would go faster,” Erdman said.

Growth to the east
There are currently eight buildings in the business park served by a small well and individual septic systems. Once the extensions are built, water lines will connect to a water tower built in 2008 but not yet operational, and sewer lines will connect to the municipal sanitary sewer service.
When the utility extensions were being budgeted earlier this year, city officials said providing city utilities could be attractive to businesses interest in locating in the business park and the service would also accommodate the city’s future growth to the east.

The water and sewer lines will be “trunk lines,” that will give the city the opportunity to provide lateral service lines to the undeveloped property in the area. The project is slated for completion by the end of the 2015 construction season.