UPDATE: Contract approved!
The Eureka City Council is holding a special session at 11 a.m. Tuesday (April 29) to consider a contract with Eureka-based Wahlund Construction to complete part of the Martin Slough Interceptor Project — that long-in-the-making streamlining of pipes taking Eureka’s sewage to Elk River Wastewater Treatment Plant by Humboldt Bay.
No, Wahlund’s crew won’t be the guys yanking on that stuck drill left beneath Pine Hill by Apex Directional Drilling, the Portland-based company that walked off the job in early April after reaching an impasse with the City in a contract dispute.
You can read about that in our story “Stuck,”
but here’s a quick refresher: Apex was drilling a hole through the base of Pine Hill, from the Eureka municipal golf course to the bottomlands east of Highway 101, through which a new sewer pipe would be threaded. The hole was completed, but with great difficulty, said Apex, which claimed that the soil was not as advertised in the bid package. While Apex tried to negotiate changes in its contract to account for this, the ground collapsed around the drill steel. It’s still there.
Apex also was contracted to do the drilling for the second stretch of the pipeline — from the bottomland, under Highway 101 and over to the wastewater treatment plant. And in both stretches of the force main pipeline, there are places where the pipe will be laid in a trench (rather than threaded through a hole). That’s where Wahlund comes in, says Eureka City Engineer Charles Roecklein.
Wahlund was originally subcontracted to Apex to do these trenching sections. Now the city wants to give the nearly $4 million contract for the last stretch to Wahlund, who, meanwhile, has identified a driller to work with, says Roecklein.
As for the first section where the pipe is stuck, he says, that’s on hold while the city and Apex try to resolve their issues. No lawsuits have been filed, he says, adding, “We’re working diligently to resolve the issues amicably.”
But there is no time to be lost, he adds.
“This thing has been stymied for so many years,” he says. “The whole community has been waiting for it to get done. And we’re really right at the 11th hour now. Which is why we’re moving ahead now fast as we can.”
After the force main is completed, another bid will go out for construction of the collectors in the system.
“We want the entire Martin Slough Interceptor Project to be done this calendar year,” Roecklein says.