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Westover hoping Holland Avenue work could begin as early as March

WESTOVER — Doug Smith told Westover City Council on Monday that he’s pushing hard to get the city’s Holland Avenue project under construction as soon as possible. 

“Right now, I’m shooting for January, February and starting construction in the March, April time frame. Sooner if I can, but that’s what I’m shooting for,” he said when asked when the project would be ready to go out for bid.   

Smith, with Thrasher Engineering, is the city’s engineer leading parallel projects to fix Holland Avenue and replace the Dent’s Run pump station at the heart of the city’s sanitary sewer system.  

The Holland Avenue work will address about 2,000 feet of the roadway, including broken down sanitary sewer and stormwater lines beneath the street’s surface and the large retaining wall that runs along its lower portion. 

Smith said getting the right contractor for that work will be critical.

“My scariest scenario is, let’s just say everything goes crazy and we’re bidding this in the fall next year, we could be dealing with a shortage of contractors. We could also be dealing with contractors that no longer build houses because of the economy and interest rates, so they’re going to be looking for different types of revenue and become utility contractors because there is an abundance of money in that market as a whole,” he explained. 

The combined cost of the dual projects has been estimated at $8.25 million, about $3.8 million of which will need to be financed through the department of environmental protection over 20 years at 3% interest.  

The rest will come covered by the city’s American Rescue Plan Act dollars ($1.9 million), anticipated grant funding from the West Virginia Water Development Authority ($2 million) and contributions from the county and state. 

As long as projected costs hold steady, the financing is lined up. 

“Everything is set and ready to go, but I’ll always throw this caveat in there that that’s as of the estimate we have today,” he said. “When we get closer and get ready to go out to bid, we’ll do a new estimate at that time and see how close we are.”