SANDOWN – Work is set to move ahead with the replacement of the Wells Village Road culvert this summer, following a review of six bids for the project, recommendations by the town’s engineer and director of public works Artie Genualdo, and a decision at the Monday, July 28 selectmen’s meeting.
The board went with the recommendation of Genualdo and Pat Coburn of engineering company Keach- Nordstrom Associates and chose Morello Construction to perform the work.
The project to replace the culvert beneath Wells Village Road to make it more suitable for handling increased stormwater runoff has been in the works for years. The culvert is set for repair in part because it is undersized and placed at the wrong angle, making it unable to handle heavy water flows, and in part because those heavy water flows have increased in recent years.
The area has been routinely washed out for years and tens of thousands of dollars in repairs have been spent.
Morello was the low bidder at $249,565 and came recommended by Coburn, who has worked with the company previously. He said they were a small outfit, most of the work done by father and son, with the mother handling administrative work.
“They do tremendously neat work and are very diligent,” said Coburn.
Six bids for the project came in earlier in the month but with concerns over each company’s timeline for the project, the town went back to five of the companies for further information.
The highest bidder came in significantly higher than the rest and Coburn said it wasn’t worth seeking additional information from that firm.
Concern over the timeline arose because the bulk of the money for the project is coming from a grant, and having already been extended once, a firm deadline of Dec. 30 had to be followed. At the 2012 town meeting voters agreed to a 25 percent match for a $160,826 Hazardous Mitigation grant accepted from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the work.
Coburn explained that all firms came back with completion estimates of at least November, enough time to both pave the area before the cold weather came in and for the town to complete the necessary paperwork to close out the grant by the end of the year.
Morello, according to Coburn, plans to complete the project earlier than the others, in early October.
Genualdo explained that the road will likely be closed for a month. Plans have already been put in motion, he said, to relocate utility lines through the woods around the area. An abutter has agreed to allow for a temporary right of way.
The town is still waiting on a wetlands permit from the state Department of Environmental Services.
Resident Matt Russell, who has followed the project and the grant through his work on the conservation commission and helped explain the project at the 2012 town meeting, asked whether the Request for Proposal stipulated that the contractor would clean up the pavement that had washed into the stream bed of the Exeter River there.
Coburn said the site upstream and downstream would be restored after the work, but Russell was looking for specifics about the pavement.
Genualdo noted that it was agreed that if the town wanted to pick up the area, it would have to be done with volunteer effort.
Russell said he may try to get a group together for that work and asked if the town could facilitate the disposal of the pavement.
Genualdo agreed to meet with the conservation commission to plan any such work.