Bend to OK water project contract

April 17, 2012
Bend to OK water project contract

$19 million deal would pay for intake, pipe burial

By Nick Grube / The Bulletin
Published: April 17. 2012 4:00AM PST

Bend city councilors are scheduled to approve a $19 million contract amendment Wednesday that should further solidify their commitment to the Bridge Creek water project.

The money would pay for the construction of a new intake facility near Tumalo Falls and a 10-mile pipeline to deliver Bridge Creek water to the city’s Outback treatment facility about two miles west of town.

Much of the pipeline will be made from already-purchased steel and be buried underneath Skyliners Road before a $9 million Federal Highway Administration reconstruction project that’s scheduled for 2013.

The $19 million amendment will bring the city’s total contract with Minnesota-based Mortenson Construction to $23.7 million. That price includes $4 million to buy the steel for the Bridge Creek pipeline, to try to take advantage of low market rates.

According to the city, the $23.7 million figure is part of a “guaranteed maximum price” on the project. Officials say this should eliminate the possibility that the project’s cost will be driven up by numerous change orders.

“This price is to deliver the project the way it’s currently laid out, and they shouldn’t be coming back to us unless there’s something ... outside of the current contract documents,” Bend purchasing manager Gwen Chapman said. “It can’t change just because the bids (from subcontractors) came in higher than they thought. That’s on them. That’s on the contractor at this point.”

The contract can still change should the city ask Mortenson to do more work on the project, such as building an extra mile of pipeline or building a larger intake facility. Mortenson can also ask for a price change if the company comes across something unexpected, such as a sensitive archaeological site or lava tube that could cause complications and delays in construction.

Mortenson is expected to begin construction on the pipeline in August, with work on the intake facility scheduled to start the following month. The company, which is acting as the construction manager and general contractor, will hire subcontractors to perform much of the work.

Both the intake facility and the pipeline are scheduled to be completed by Nov. 1, 2013, unless there are unforeseen delays. The city is still waiting for a special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service, since a lot of the construction will take place on public lands.

City councilors can add to the Mortenson contract if they decide to build a new water treatment plant and hydroelectric facility as part of the Bridge Creek upgrade. Councilors recently put off building the treatment plant so the city can negotiate with the state over a new deadline to comply with federal clean water mandates. They also want to reconsider whether to add a hydroelectric facility.

The entire project, with the intake facility, pipeline, treatment plant and hydropower component, is estimated to cost about $70 million. In addition to the contract with Mortenson Construction, the city entered into a $12.2 million contract with HDR Engineering Inc. for design services.

City councilors are also scheduled to hold a public hearing Wednesday on a public facilities plan that includes the Bridge Creek water project.

That plan, required as part of the city’s ongoing urban growth boundary expansion, took center stage during a Bend Planning Commission meeting in November in which 75 people packed City Hall. Although the commission approved the plan, two planning commissioners voted against it because it contained the Bridge Creek water project.

— Reporter: 541-633-2160,

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