Helper chooses contractor for next phase of massive project
Silver Spur Construction of Draper won the bidding for the next phase of Helper's infrastructure rebuild. The company had offered the low bid of $7,612,000 and cleared the due diligence checks by city officials and Franson Civil Engineering, the firm designing and overseeing the project. The city council's vote was 3-0 at a special session Tuesday night.
"We will have all of their attention," Chad Brown, an engineer with Franson, told the council. The reason for that, Brown explained, is that Silver Spur will be very close to its bond limit by taking over the Helper job. That makes the project a vital concern for the company, he explained.
The water, sewer and storm drain work will be in Area 5, which is basically Helper west of the wash that runs north-south though the town. It includes Sally Mauro Elementary School, the neighborhood of the avenues, Castle Gate Subdivision and Martin west of US 6. The excavation is expected to begin in Martin just north of Workmen's Market.
The city and Franson Engineering want digging to begin as soon as possible. "The reality is probably mid-March," Brown told the council. It will take some time to serve the notice of award, work out contract details and begin the logistics of ordering, moving and staging construction materials.
Silver Spur and other bidders were all made aware of the critical need to keep Sally Mauro access roads and infrastructure open while classes are in session. "We have stressed that, stressed that, stressed that..." councilman and public works director Gary Harwood assured his colleagues at the Feb. 6 meeting. The mayor and council had were adamant that there would be no repeat of the situation at Helper Junior High School last year. Roads in that area were impassable for school buses and students had to cross a swinging bridge over the Price River and trudge up a hillside to get to and from school.
A hike like that, while healthy, would be out of the question where little kids are concerned, the council agreed.
Meanwhile, the final completion date for Areas 1 and 4 is now set for April 10, Brown said. Nielsen Construction is supposed to have its asphalt plant running on or before March 10, so the last of the paving on the torn-up streets should get under way shortly after that.
The completion of the first phases in April will make it easier for visitors to the Outlaw Car Show, Arts and Music Festival and Electric Light Parade to move around town and find parking.
The $19 million city-wide reconstruction of the city's underground infrastructure is financed by a package of grants and loans from the state's Permanent Community Impact Board. Helper has raised its utility rates to meet its loan obligations. Operating costs are expected to decline significantly because of the reduced maintenance expense of a new system. Repair work on the old lines - some of which were 70 years old - has been costing thousands of dollars a month.