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Bids Announced For Fort Wayne's Largest Public Works Project

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Courtesy/Frank Suarez
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Map depicting where the tunnel will travel
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Credit Courtesy/Frank Suarez
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An example of a sewer overflow.

Fort Wayne’s Board of Public Works opened bidding Thursday for the largest public works project in the city’s history.

Five companies bid on the 5-mile tunnel construction project that would be about 200 feet below ground, and bids range in cost from about $188 million to about $230 million.

The main goal of the project is to reduce sewage in Fort Wayne’s rivers. The Board of Public Works estimates this will reduce combined sewer overflows by 90 percent.

T.J. Short is the City Utilities’ program manager, and he says this is an important project, especially with the city’s interest in riverfront development.

“This is going to be such a great project,” Short said. “It’s going to be things that will help economic development in my opinion. It will help with the river quality.”

The lowest bid from S.A. Healy-Salini Impreglio JV was about $188 million, which is actually lower than the engineer’s estimate of about 190 million. All of the other bids were higher than the engineer’s estimate. The lowest bid will be chosen as long as it meets the city’s specifications. City officials say it will take about 3-4 weeks to review the bids and make a decision.

Each bid also includes a timeline for the project. Fort Wayne gave the companies a deadline of 54 months, or 4.5 years.

Bidding companies were also asked to include estimates for a possible expansion. The city is also considering options on what to do with the mined rock, which has value and can potentially be used for other public works projects. The expansion would cost more than $22 million, depending on which company they choose.

Fort Wayne will not be the only city with a tunnel like this. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, is requiring cities, including Indianapolis, to cut back sewage overflows into rivers.

Bids, listed from lowest to highest estimate, include: S.A. Healy-Salini Impreglio JV; Shea-Jay Dee JV; Strabag-Walsh JV; Traylor-McNally JV; Kiewit-Seli JV.

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