The city of Merced recently awarded a bid to San Jose-based West Valley Construction Co. Inc., to lay a water main at T and Seventh streets for $454,870.
Three of the five companies that placed bids on the project were from Merced County, but West Valley Construction’s bid was the lowest, according to city records. Under the city’s charter, bids are awarded to the lowest bidder despite the bidder’s location.
The Merced City Council approved the contract June 15.
The work to be done includes adding new 6-inch and 8-inch water mains, water services, fire hydrants and valves. The project includes reconnection to the existing system, pressure testing and disinfection of the new water line.
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The sidewalk, curb, gutter and asphalt will need to be removed to complete the work.
The project is being funded with Community Development Block Grants, which are awarded to the city through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The money was redirected to the water main project last year after HUD issued a finding in 2013 that said the city initially spent the grant money on ineligible activities.
Merced was given the options to pay back HUD or come up with an eligible project. The city’s staff picked the water main replacement in south Merced, because the main is old and in a moderate- to low-income neighborhood eligible for the grant money.
The water main replacement project fits into the city’s Water Master Plan for line replacement, according to city staff members.
Once the project is complete, HUD will cancel the original but ineligible projects, according to city records. The new project should put Merced in compliance with HUD.