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Update on broken Fort Pierre water main: RFP out for removal

March 10, 2018 GMT

A request for proposals (RFP) has been sent out to area contractors for removal of a broken water main suspended under the US-83 Bad River bridge. The bridge connects south Fort Pierre to the rest of the city.

That was part of the update that Director of Public Works Rick Hahn gave to the Fort Pierre City Council on Thursday. The blizzard that started Sunday night blew the regular meeting off its usual Monday spot on the calendar.

The main froze and burst in mid-February, which leaves the south part of town with just one good pipe. Hahn had already advised the council at its second February meeting about the situation.

Hahn said Thursday that the remaining line, an 8-inch pipe, was more than adequate for everyday use, but said it would not be enough to handle more than a single structure fire south of the bridge. “So let’s keep the fires down to one at a time,” he quipped. Hahn said that he thinks it’s important to get the broken water line in service again this year, because it’s important for redundancy.

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The remaining good pipe is unlikely to freeze no matter how cold the air temperature gets, because it’s buried underground. Boring under the Bad River, to place the pipe where it won’t freeze, is one option being considered, Hahn told the council.

The very “primitive estimates” he’s received so far, based on informal conversations with contractors, put the cost of boring under the Bad River at around $100,000 for 1,000 feet of boring compared to $75-80,000 for re-suspending the main under the bridge, Hahn told the Capital Journal.

Those numbers aren’t near firm enough base a decision on, Hahn said. He expects that a upcoming meeting of the utilities committee will help determine which option to pursue.

Councilmember Bob Ricketts said, “In my opinion, boring is the only way to go.” Given the projected cost differential, other councilmembers expressed agreement with that sentiment.

On either option, the broken pipe under the bridge needs to be removed, and Hahn hopes to have quotes for the pipe removal work by the time the council holds its second meeting in March.

The council’s regular meetings fall on the first and third Mondays of each month.