Winchester Takes First Steps Into Massive Water Main Replacement Project

By Benjamin Cox on February 10, 2022 at 9:16pm

The City of Winchester took the first steps in upgrading its water mains in a massive project last night.

The city council entered into an agreement for a Preliminary Engineering Agreement with Benton & Associates to lay out the brevity of the project and its cost.

Greg Hillis and David Pace of Benton & Associates says the agreement would give the city the flexibility to pivot towards grants with either the EPA or the USDA, depending upon where the best cost reduction to the city would lie.

Hillis says the $15,000 cost for the agreement gets everything ready for the project to be designed: “Right now you are looking at if we do everything [in the water system], and we’re just doing some ballpark numbers right now for construction costs. You are around $2,635,000 to do everything that we are talking about, but on top of that, you’ve got what are called non-construction costs. That’s the engineering. There is legal bond counsel that has to be put into that also. So, right now, we just threw in 30% for all those non-construction costs because we don’t what they are yet. That’s what this P.E.R. does to put all of those numbers together. Right now, if you are looking…and as I say this is a $2.6 million project with all those other [costs], the project would be around $3.4 million, and that’s with your interest in there and everything else.”

The $3.4 million project will help the city solve its long-standing issues with water pressure on its north side, water main breaks, and replace any existing lead service lines. The agreement will be presented to the council for a final approval within the next several months after preliminary studies are completed with the city’s utility department. Hillis says if the preliminary studies determine that the current service lines are a health, life, and safety risk to the public, the city may be able to qualify for a better interest rate or more funding to get the project completed.