Note: As of Sept. 2 the county has received all of the needed easements except for three belonging to Vernon Paul Gordon.
Contractors submitted bids last week for the East Bend water line project. Charles D. Lowder, Inc., was the apparent low bidder, coming it at a total of $3,191,850 for both contracts of the bid.
The county commissioners are expected to award the bid at their Sept. 6 meeting. The long-awaited project will bring water from a Forsyth County water treatment plant to East Bend, replacing the well system the town has been using. The town has battled issues with the wells for sometime now, even having to close one of the wells a few years ago.
“It’s going to make a huge difference for the town in having good potable water for the long term,” said East Bend Mayor Archie Hicks. “Everyone’s going to benefit from this, not just the residents of the town, but also the people in the outlying areas where that water line’s going to run.”
Residents along the route of the waterline on Old Hwy. 421, Taylor Road and Flint Hill from the Enon community to East Bend will be able to hook on to the new line if they so choose. Construction is expected to begin late this year with an approximate one-year time frame for completion.
“The county will purchase water from Forsyth County Winston-Salem Utilities’ Commission and sell it to the town of East Bend. Residents along the line may tap on if they choose to at a reduced rate of $500 through Aug. 31, after that date, the tap fee goes back to full price. Those who purchase a tap will not be required to connect their property to the line unless they choose to and will not be charged any assessment fee or any fee unless they do connect their property to the tap,” explained County Manager Lisa Hughes.
“The county is excited about this project and pleased to be able to help East Bend solve their water issues,” Hughes added.
Hughes said a mandatory pre-bid meeting for contractors took place on Aug. 11, which included a visit to Forsyth County Winston-Salem Utilities’ Commission Plant on the Yadkin River and the point where the East Bend waterline will begin.
“Once the bids are received, they will be evaluated and will require contract approval by the county and the state,” Hughes said. “The county has received a low-interest loan from the state through its Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund. The design and bid documents for the project have already been approved by the state.”
For the project the county must obtain about 150 easements. Officials are working to resolve the remaining easements so the project can begin as scheduled. The county is paying each property owner $650 per easement. The utility easements are being used for construction of the waterline only and no other utility, Hughes said.
“We still need easements from Richard Cox, Matthew and Teena Godfrey, Vernon Paul Gordon, Renee Hennings Gonzalez, and Randy and Shannon Taylor. Numerous letters have been sent to the property owners explaining the project and the need for the easements. Staff has attempted to call property owners and have even gone door to door of those owners we have not received any response from. A couple of property owners have refused to sign the easements,” Hughes said.
“Without these easements, the project may be delayed and the cost of the project may be increased or the county forced to take legal action against the property owners. The sole purpose of the project is to supply the town of East Bend with better quality water. East Bend obtains its water from wells and have had to shut down several of those wells due to contamination.”
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.