The city of Soldotna is expanding its water and sewer mains on opposite ends of town in an effort to promote further development.
Last week the Soldotna City Council awarded a $47,321 contract to McLane Consulting Group of Soldotna to design projects along the Sterling Highway and Kalifornsky Beach Road.
McLane beat out three other consultants for the job. Wince-Corthell-Bryson had the high bid at $77,8230, while William J. Nelson and Associates came in at $69,910, and Mike Tauriainen, P.E. had the low bid of $40,725. While McLane had a slightly higher bid than Tauriainen, it also received a higher qualification ranking by the city's bid selection committee.
One of the two projects will extend the water and sewer line a few hundred feet from the northern entry of Fred Meyer to Sharkathmi Avenue, where it will cross under the Sterling Highway to the west side.
The other end of the project is along K-Beach to the west of the Soldotna Sports Center, where the water and sewer mains will extend about 1,300 feet to Jan Avenue.
"They're both pretty basic civil engineering," said Sam McLane, of the company that bears his name.
The Sharkathmi line's major obstacle is crossing the Sterling Highway.
"I doubt we'd get a permit to tear up the road," said Soldotna City Manager Tom Boedeker.
Instead, according to McLane, one of two methods of crossing under the highway will be used. One is to drill, the other is to jack, or push, a pipe casing through.
"It looks pretty easy," McLane said.
Boedeker said the two projects will be paid for with cash out of the city's utility capital fund and are viewed as necessary to spur economic development in those areas.
"Neither of these areas can be developed (without the extensions)," he said. "And developers can't afford to make that investment up front."
He said the city has several other projects on its list to consider, but chose these two as the most likely to become developed once water and sewer are available.
"Some people say, 'What about my area?' and that's legitimate," Boedeker said. "We have a couple others to look at."
The Sharkathmi extension most likely will not need a lift station for sewer to reach the rest of the system, since it will be flowing downhill, but the Jan Avenue line will need the extra help a pump could provide, since it is all on level ground.
As a result, the Jan Avenue project will cost about $300,000 to construct, about a third more than Sharkathmi at just under $200,000. Boedeker said he hopes the construction can begin by midsummer.
McLane said his company engineered the project that brought the water and sewer mains to Fred Meyer from the site of the former Through the Sea-sons restaurant.
"We'll just pick up and continue on," he said. "We don't expect many surprises."
McLane said he will start right away on the design and surveying and should have the results ready to go out to bid in April.
"It should be ready for construction as soon as the snow melts -- if we ever get any," he said.
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