State Street, sewer contracts awarded

T-R PHOTOS BY JOE FISHER — Public works director Heather Thomas shares the low bids for two major projects in Marshalltown with the city council on Monday.

Two major infrastructure improvement projects moved forward after contracts were awarded during Monday’s Marshalltown city council meeting.

Contracts for the phase one reconstruction of State Street and sanitary sewer cured in-place pipe project went out to bid last week. Con-Struct submitted the lowest of two bids to reconstruct State Street between Third Street and Third Avenue with a bid of more than $6 million.

Public works director Heather Thomas said the winning bid is five percent over the estimated cost of the project. The department recommended acceptance with a proposal to cover the additional cost. The largest funding source change in terms of dollars is an additional $461,741 from American Rescue Plan Act funding. Additionally, the Sanitary Sewer Enterprise Fund will contribute $261,100 more to the project.

Currently, there is a six to eight month delay on some construction materials for this project.

“I’m 95 percent confident we’re not going to see any construction this year,” Thomas said.

Fire chief David Rierson said the fire department is on pace for more than 780 overlapping calls this year.

As Thomas noted during the May 9 council meeting, the construction window will allow for two seasons to complete phase one of reconstruction.

“It’s nice to see a Marshalltown company get that,” councilor Mike Ladehoff said of Con-Struct being awarded the contract.

The next lowest bidder, All Star Construction, had a bid more than $1.6 million higher than Con-Struct.

Municipal Pipe Tool Company of Hudson was the low bidder for the sanitary sewer project at about $4.7 million, which is about $626,000 over the estimate. Two valid bids were received.

To cover the cost, the city will take $3.9 million from its State Revolving Fund loan, paired with $868,210.10 in cash from the Sanitary Sewer Enterprise Fund.

The expected usable life of sanitary sewer lines are about 50 years, but Thomas said some lines have been active for closer to 80 years. Installing cured in-place pipe lining could extend a pipe’s usage another 50 years or longer.

The council unanimously approved awarding both contracts.

Rierson revisitsoverlapping calls

Fire chief David Rierson revisited a discussion he held with the council during a meeting last month regarding overlapping calls. He was asked several questions by the council at the time and returned to discuss the issue further.

Overlapping calls occur when the fire department is called to an incident while already responding to another. When the department responds to a health emergency for example, its first responders must stay on the scene until a care provider of an equal or higher level arrives.

In 2021, there were 720 cases where all available fire department personnel were dispatched, according to Rierson. This year, there have already been 287 instances, putting the department on pace for 780 overlapping calls or more.

Staffing could ease the issue to some degree, but Rierson said overlapping calls will always happen. He clarified the problem is not unique to Marshalltown or Iowa. Emergency medical services are experiencing staffing shortage and dealing with an aging population nationally.

The department took four calls in the span of one minute last week, Rierson said.

Ladehoff asked what other departments around Iowa are doing in similar situations.

“Some have added staff. Others are doing what we’re doing,” Rierson answered. “Making as many calls as they can and hoping they don’t miss one.”


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