Costs rise for Arlington Hts. project, but grant will cover half

  • Downtown Arlington Heights will be busy with construction this summer, with six public works projects on the schedule. Among them is a $3.6 million sewer system upgrade.

    Downtown Arlington Heights will be busy with construction this summer, with six public works projects on the schedule. Among them is a $3.6 million sewer system upgrade. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, 2016

Updated 4/16/2019 6:35 PM

A downtown Arlington Heights sewer upgrade planned for this summer will cost more than expected as the project scope has expanded, but the village has been awarded a grant that will pay for half of it.

The $3.6 million stormwater control project includes installation of larger sewers in the downtown, aimed at providing relief from basement backups to some 250 homes in an area bounded by Ridge Avenue, Wing Street, Arlington Heights Road and George Street.


Official say it also will help prevent street and structure flooding on Campbell Street west of Vail Avenue.

Original cost estimates -- based on a 2015 flood study -- put the project at $2.7 million. But during the project's design phase, village officials added some changes "in order to do it right," said Village Manager Randy Recklaus.

That put the estimate closer to $3.4 million, and after receiving bids earlier this month, the village board Monday night awarded the low bid to Elgin-based Martam Construction for $3.6 million.

Some of the additional expenses include costs for inflation since the 2015 study estimate ($290,000), replacing and upsizing existing combined sewers ($140,000), and relocating and reconfiguring water mains in some areas because of the sewer size and depth.

Village Engineer Mike Pagones said the original rough estimates weren't based on plans or a detailed survey, but on general sewer modeling done by flood study consultant CDM Smith.

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"Especially with the downtown area, once you get into underground construction, there's a lot of the existing utilities and different things that get in the way and require a little more detail and a little more expense to take care of," Pagones said.

The board Monday also inked an intergovernmental agreement with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago for a $1.8 million grant, which will cover half the project's cost. The water district's board will vote on the agreement May 2.

The village is paying its portion with proceeds from a $9.9 million bond issue authorized last year and reserves.

The sewer work is one of six public works projects taking place downtown this year. Already, Nicor crews have begun installing new gas mains.

Because of the construction -- some of which will include sidewalk repair -- the board Monday agreed to waive the annual $115 outdoor dining fee for restaurants that set up tables and chairs on sidewalks.

"In the evening hours generally speaking, construction is going to be buttoned up and we think it's still going to be a great place to come and enjoy downtown night life," Recklaus said. "But there are going to be disruptions to some of the outdoor seating on occasion."

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