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Water main reconstruction to disrupt traffic on Clary, McMillan streets this summer

WORTHINGTON -- Travel on two of Worthington's high traffic streets will be disrupted this summer as the city's public utilities department plans to reconstruct water mains.

WORTHINGTON - Travel on two of Worthington’s high traffic streets will be disrupted this summer as the city’s public utilities department plans to reconstruct water mains.

The approximately $1.5 million project will be completed in three phases, with the first to include reconstructing the water main on Clary Street from Fredrick Avenue to McMillan Street. Phase two will include water main reconstruction on McMillan, between Clary and Oxford streets, and phase three will be on McMillan between Clary and Paulson Avenue.

Worthington Public Utilities General Manager Scott Hain said the work is slated to be completed in early September, a week before the city’s annual Turkey Day celebration.

The existing 4- and 6-inch iron pipes will be replaced with 8-inch PVC pipe on new alignments. Interim pavement will be installed after each phase, and detour routes will be posted.

During Monday’s meeting of WPU’s Water & Light Commission, members voted to authorize advertisement for bids on the project. Bids will be considered at the commission’s April 15 meeting. The work is scheduled to begin before the end of the school year.

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In other action, the commission:

  • Authorized vacating a portion of a utility easement on property along East Avenue, near Nobles County 5. Hain said all of the utilities have been relocated during the past two years, and noted that a multi-unit housing project has been discussed on the parcel.
  • Awarded a bid for the relocation of an above ground raw water main line at Hawkinson Bridge on Lake Ocheda to TE Underground LLC of Tyler. The company was the lone bidder on the project at $248,464, which is nearly $28,000 over the engineer’s estimate for the work.

The project entails moving the water line below ground. The work is anticipated to be done in conjunction with the Lake Ocheda drawdown this fall and the county’s planned replacement of the bridge.
The project requires a Sunday tie-in of the water line because that is the one day JBS doesn’t do processing, said Hain. The line tie-in would shut the city’s water supply off from the Lake Bella wellfield, and if that was done on a day JBS was working, there are concerns there wouldn’t be enough water.

Hain said the added cost of the project could be covered by undesignated reserve funds.

“My recommendation is to bite the bullet, use the reserves and just get it done,” he said. “If Lewis & Clark water starts flowing, that certainly helps our comfort level. It still gets touchy not having access to well water - even if Lewis & Clark is here.”

  • Continued discussion on a potential solar project on the roof of the new Centennial Park Beach House. Hain reported that a 4,800-watt project was being considered, which would include 16 panels all facing Lake Okabena.

After calculating equipment and installation - and degradation of the panels over their lifetime - solar would be “pretty expensive electricity.” Still, he said it is a good location for a project if, at some point, solar would prove more cost effective.
The commission voted to not participate in a solar project on the Beach Nook at this time, with the option to reconsider it in the future.

  • Heard an update on the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System project. While Hain said the contractor is confident the 16- and 20-inch segments of the water line will pass a pressure test, there is an issue with the 24-inch segment. That segment, closest to Adrian, stretches about four or five miles.

“What they’ve done on that segment is uncovered every pipe joint,” Hain said, noting that he’d been told by the project manager that if the entire segment had been dug up last fall, “they’d be much farther ahead than they are now.”
It remains unknown when the city will be able to hook into the regional water system.

  • Discussed the potential for commission members to participate in meetings remotely. The discussion was fueled by the expiring term of member Lyle Ten Haken at the end of this month. Ten Haken could be reappointed for a second term, but has indicated he will be out of town for three months in the winter.

Hain said the Worthington City Council doesn’t appear to support the reappointment knowing Ten Haken will miss consecutive meetings for three months.
Commission member Deb Weg asked if the council would consider allowing Ten Haken to participate in meetings remotely, either via Skype or phone.

“I would hate to see all of that experience walk out the door,” she said.

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“I think it’s something that needs to be looked at here, regardless of what council does,” Hain added.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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