County approves $409k contract for water main project at Expo Park

County Commissioners unanimously approved a $409,792 contract to Ed Boland Construction during a July 8 special meeting for water main replacement at Montana Expo Park.

The project will replace about 3,000 linear feet of 6-inch and 8-inch water main, valves, fitting, thrust restraints, service/hydrant reconnections, two fire suppression lines, a domestic line to serve the Four Seasons Arena, surface restoration and related items.

The base bid was primarily the replacement of a section around and near the Four Seasons Arena, with alternate bids, that were approved, to continue the water main replacement north of the arena around to the back of the racetrack and the area from the arena to the existing meter pit on the west edge of the complex.

Brian Clifton, special projects manager for the county, told The Electric that this main broke 8-19 times over the last two years, including six breaks right before and during the 2019 fair.

One of the breaks was in the parking lot, but there was a break in the Four Seasons Arena, near the corner with Exhibition Hall, Clifton said. That break didn’t cause damage to the building, but continued breaks would cause more problems, he said.

The county bid the project earlier but bids came back higher than estimated so the county didn’t accept them and rebid the project in June, with the bids closer to the engineering estimates, Clifton said.

He said the work is scheduled to start in mid-August.

The contract included a 20 percent contingency of $68,300. Commissioner Jane Weber asked if they could consider a 15 percent contingency and then adjust if needed since the county only budgeted $400,000 for the project.

Commissioner Joe Briggs said he didn’t want to lower the contingency in case an issue arose and needing commission approval for more contingency funds would slow construction.

Commissioners will instead do a budget amendment for the additional contingency funds.