Harvard approves fix to worst of sewer problems

HARVARD – A stretch of sewer causing backups and requiring near-weekly service will get repairs this summer.

The Harvard City Council voted on Tuesday to approve a $360,000 project to replace sewer line along Route 14 from South Park Avenue to Airport Road.

The project encompasses the worst section of the city’s significant sewer needs, which officials will continue to address as funds become available in the future, City Administrator Dave Nelson said.

“We’ve been saving the money for this project for three, four years,” Nelson said.

The city has awarded the project to Rockford-based Stenstrom Construction, which is also redoing a city bridge on Marengo Road.

Bids for the project came in about 30 percent higher than the engineer’s estimate, Nelson said.

The money is being drawn from the water and sewer fund.

Alderman Chuck Marzahl, who heads the Water and Sewer Committee, said the city’s sewer issues are compounded by the fact the lines are about 17 feet below ground – significantly lower than a more typical sewer line that runs six to eight feet below the surface, he said.

The deep lines complicate projects and add to labor costs, he said.

But Marzahl said the work approved Tuesday is a positive first step.

“It’ll alleviate the issue in the real bad part,” he said. “This section here is basically totally disintegrated.”

The contractor could break ground on the project in June or July, Marzahl said.

Officials said they hope to see the work completed by the end of the summer.

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