Ken Fratesi, director of the West Helena Water Department, reported to the Helena-West Helena City Council, the urgency in replacing the 2-inch galvanized lines in West Helena section of the city.
“We've been working with Smith & Weiland on a plan and we want to make sure that we're on the same page with the city,” stated Fratesi.
Fratesi explained that the replacements are needed as the result of deterioration of the original lines when the city was established.
“We're hoping to get all the bidding done and start around the end of the year or the beginning of next year,” said Fratesi.
Fratesi added that the project would begin on the numbered streets on the west side of town, starting with Second Street.
According to Fratesi, the engineers and the West Helena Water Department have been working on a bid packet and discussed that they only have the option to repair what they can afford and when they can afford to do it.
“Instead of a large job we're just going to bid it out by unit prices,” said Fratesi.
Fratesi calculated that based on the bids that have come in and the funds that the department has, about 10 blocks could be completed each year for an estimated $275,000 to $300,000 tops per year over an estimated 5-year period of time.
“All we're looking for is the approval of the council so that we can go forward with the bid packet and the project,” stated Fratesi.
Councilman Joe. St. Columbia briefly questioned the line conditions in Helena and encouraged each water department head to work together to resolve the one city issue.
“This summer has been a nightmare. It's nothing for us to have to respond to six leaks a day,” reported Fratesi.
The council voted to approve the continuance of the project in compliance with the proper procedure that will be followed after all bids are presented to the council.