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Planned Cedar Creek treatment plant moving forward in design phase
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 City engineers are moving forward with plans for the Cedar Creek water treatment plant.

Gainesville's public utilities department received 10 bids Thursday to move forward with the design and tentative June 2011 start date for construction.

Public utilities engineers will pick a construction manager at-risk in the next few weeks to help complete the design phase for Cedar Creek.

"We have a short time frame to get this built by mid-2012 to have it complete," said Matt Henderson, project manager in the public utilities engineering department, who accepted bids Thursday. "By doing this, we save about three or four months in the schedule by going ahead while the project is being designed and develop a price."

Under the usual bidding process, the public utilities department contracts out the entire project for designing and building. A consultant designs the project 100 percent before a price is set and contractors receive bids for the physical groundbreaking work.

"This is a new method for us, and hopefully it will be a good relationship with everyone working on the same team," Henderson said.

Under the construction manager process, a manager will work with Jordan, Jones and Goulding-Jacobs Engineering to complete design plans for the water treatment plant. Design plans are about 30 percent complete, and getting a manager on board will help with pre-construction services such as scheduling, cost estimating and value engineering to develop a guaranteed maximum price for the project, Henderson said.

"Part of that is getting together packages for subcontractors for the different pieces of work, such as structural, mechanical areas," he said.

Once the price is determined and the design is 100 percent complete around June 2011, public utilities officials will ask for bids for the building contract.

"If this pre-construction contract is good, then we might do another one with them and hopefully get started on construction shortly after the second contract is executed," he said.

Henderson will present the pick for construction manager at-risk at either of this month's City Council work session meetings - Oct. 14 or Oct. 28. A guaranteed maximum price should be developed by April, and construction work will start in June.

"That's our optimum schedule. We still have a lot of hurdles to cross with permitting and the Environmental Protection Division," Henderson said. "We're moving along and trying to stay out of the politics between city and county officials (over the planned Glades Reservoir)."

In July 2009, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson said Lake Lanier wasn't authorized to be a source of drinking water and gave Georgia three years to negotiate the management of Lanier, have Congress reauthorize the reservoir or go back to withdrawal numbers equal to those in the mid-1970s.

The Cedar Creek reservoir, located in East Hall, is the only backup supply of water in the county if the ruling limits access to Lake Lanier in 2012. However, the city can't currently treat the water because the county has the permit to the water.

The two governments have been at odds for months over which entity has control of the water in Cedar Creek and the financial details of its inclusion in a larger system with the proposed Glades Reservoir.

Georgia EPD Director Allen Barnes has indicated he will not release the needs assessment letter the county needs to move forward with permitting of the planned Glades Reservoir until Gainesville and Hall County reach an agreement on Cedar Creek.

Although both governments agreed to nonbinding mediation in September, they decided to delay the mediation until January when newly elected county commissioners will be in office.

"We'll see how that comes out. We started this process right after the judge laid the ruling last summer about cutting back our supply to 8 million gallons per day from what we have now, which is 35 million," Henderson said. "This plant was already planned but was going to be several years down the road ... Hopefully the reduction in water supply won't ever happen, but we need to be ready for whatever takes place."


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