Woodland water, sewer projects coming in under budget


A number of contracts for water and sewer projects in Woodland have come in significantly under budget, with some of the savings going toward extra work that could lead to better financing opportunities down the road.

During its May 1 meeting, Woodland City Council voted unanimously to approve three contracts for two projects on its utility infrastructure. One project will replace an asbestos-lined pipe while the other will rebuild one of the city’s wastewater lift stations.

Council awarded Yacolt-based Odyssey Contracting, LLC a contract for about $385,000 to install about 1,300 feet of 12-inch PVC pipe on West Scott Avenue from Down River Drive to Pacific Avenue. The project allows for replacement of an existing asbestos cement water main.

The accepted bid includes about $6,700 for Build America Buy America Act (BABAA) certification. The act “requires all iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials permanently installed on federally assisted infrastructure projects to be produced in the United States,” according to the United States Department of Agriculture website.

Woodland Public Works Director Tracy Coleman said the certification would allow for use of the project as a down payment on USDA loans for future projects.

She said the additional funding for the certification was “pennies” compared to having to come up with the money for a down payment.

Coleman noted all of the bids came in lower than what was expected. Out of the seven received, even the highest bid of about $586,000 was below the engineer’s estimate of roughly $660,000.

For the same project, council approved a construction management contract with a different company that also saw the total come in significantly under budget. The contract went to Hazel Dell-based Gray and Osborne for about $67,000, about half of the roughly $132,000 initially budgeted.

Gray and Osborne served as design engineer on all the recent West Scott Avenue projects, according to a staff report, including the design of the project that Odyssey will be undertaking.

“The firm knows the project inside and out and can rapidly answer questions, address any concerns and review pay estimates prior to submittal to the City of Woodland,” the staff report stated. The management contract will also follow BABAA requirements.

Gray and Osborne also received the contract for construction management services on rebuilding Woodland’s Lift Station 8 on the southwest side of the city. That contract came in at about $56,000, compared to a budget of $75,000.

The bids came in at about $360,000 in total less than what the city already had budgeted. Coleman said the savings from the projects will help pay for others she had mentioned to council in the past.

At the prior council meeting, she and mayor Will Finn went over the city’s water utility funding. The city has identified $17.5 million in utility projects it has planned over the next several years, Finn said. Even with water rate increases it will still need to make up a significant difference to get them built.