Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 21, 2017

Dredging project rebid

Polton does not believe new bids will slow Lake Darling progress
By David Hotle | Jun 28, 2013
The area that would normally be Lake Darling has become a grassy prairie during the five years since the lake was drained for reconstruction. The project is progressing and may be done by July 4, 2014.

BRIGHTON — In the latest of a line of setbacks that has plagued the project, the dredging phase of the Lake Darling restoration project is being rebid, Iowa Department of Natural Resources fisheries management technician Vance Polton reported today.
Polton said that he did not believe that the rebidding of the project would impact the completion date of the project. He said the shoreline and boat ramp projects would not have to be rebid.
“They won’t be able to start this summer, but in reality they probably wouldn’t have been able to start this summer anyway,” Polton said, of the dredging project.
He said the contracting company doing the dredging changed its bid, making the price about $1.4 million more than originally bid. Polton said this is about three times as much as originally bid. He said that the state is required to rebid the project. Polton said the additional money requested is due primarily to the delays in the project. The two-year-long project had started five years ago.  
Bids are due July 18 and will be considered at the August Department of Natural Resource Commission meeting.
The deadline date for completion of the dredging project will continue to be in mid-March 2014. Polton said with the wet conditions the area has been having, he did not feel the contractor would have been able to do much work before August or September.
If the project continues as scheduled, Polton said that there may be water in Lake Darling next spring. He said that road construction would be going on next spring and much the park will be closed. He said that initial plans are for the park to be open to campers with the new lake sometime around July 4, 2014.
“Cross your fingers and hope,” he said.
After draining the lake in 2008 to dredge silt from the bottom and reconfigure it, in conjunction with projects to improve the surrounding Lake Darling State Park, the initial plan was that the lake would be open in 2010. Polton said no work could be done in 2009-10 due to heavy rains flooding the construction areas and making the ground inaccessible by large equipment, and the project was slowed down.
“We basically lost two years due to the rain,” he said.
In 2011, construction crews started on the new dam. Polton said even then it took time to drain the spillway. Crews also hoped that the ground would freeze enough to bring large earthmoving equipment into the unpaved construction areas. When the 2011-12 winter was unseasonably warm, it halted construction. The ground never froze enough for the equipment — which can weigh over 100,000 pounds — to run on the soil.
Polton said that the project was held up due to a problem with permits last year. Calling 2012 “the wasted year,” Polton said that work had been started before permits had been issued for the work. The permits, he said, were to remove soil from the area that had been dredged from the lake.

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