by Cheryl Borrowdale
SUGAR GROVE—After three years of planning and negotiations, the Mallard Point/Rolling Oaks drainage project received a green light on Tuesday, when the village received a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers and hired contractors to begin construction.
Village Board members voted 5-0 to approve a contract with Neslund Construction to perform the drainage improvements for $1,142,184.09, the lowest bid. The engineering firm of Trotter and Associates was also contracted to oversee the construction on the village’s behalf.
“It’s exciting to finally have the green light to go forward and to be able to solve some things for those residents,” Village President Sean Michels said.
The contract was the final step in a long process that has included approval of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Rob Roy Drainage District, an easement agreement, a special assessment, project bid approval, pond/wetland proposal approval and an SSA levy. The village applied for the permit from the Army Corps in January, but the approval depended partially on an orchid survey by US Fish and Wildlife Service that could only be done between June 28 and July 11. Three visits on non-consecutive days confirmed that wild orchids are not growing in the wetland area, Mark Bushnell, project engineer for Trotter and Associates, said.
Construction on the drainage project—which will install a pipe 30 inches in diameter and 8,800 feet long to convey groundwater from the two subdivisions to the Drainage District ditch near Jericho Road and Route 30—will begin in approximately one month, Bushnell told the aoard on Tuesday night.
The project will lower high groundwater levels in Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks, resolving the drainage problems that have plagued some residents for years, causing some houses to have flooded basements, sump pumps that ran continuously and mold issues. Many of the houses experiencing problems are along Brookhaven Drive or within a block or two of it, although houses scattered throughout both subdivisions have experienced drainage issues, Bushnell said.
Trustee Kevin Geary urged the contractors to begin work quickly.
“The greatest fear I have is that we have some of the best possible weather to get this pipe in, and my fear is that we will miss it and get rain in a month,” he said. “This project has been years in the making, and I can tell you that the residents are very tired out there and want it done. Anything we can do to expedite that (should be done).”
The project is moving forward as quickly as possible, Bushnell said, but before the construction can begin the area must first be dewatered. Work will then start on the south end and move toward Jericho Road up north, and the project will be substantially completed within 150 days, and finally completed within 180 calendar days from the start date.
“Right now we have a contractor who has indicated that those completion dates are not an issue, but we haven’t received final confirmation,” Bushnell said. “It’s in their best interest to get it done before snow flies. The 150 to 180 days is just to allow the contractor enough time.”
Bushnell said that the village, the county and other agencies deserved credit for their collaborative efforts to move the project forward.
“At the completion of the project, we hope it alleviates the drainage concerns that initiated the project three years ago,” Bushnell said.