Eisenhower bridge

The pedestrian bridge across the highway near Eisenhower Elementary isn’t safe, inspectors say. Bus drivers are making changes so the school’s students have options other than running across the highway to get to school.

The city has struggled to reach a settlement on reimbursements from insurance companies following damages to the Eisenhower Pedestrian Bridge last year.

“I’m in the process of filing a lawsuit on behalf of the city against the two parties involved in the damage,” said City Attorney Joni Keith.

An escort vehicle directing a semitruck hauling a wide-load turbine in April 2011 led the semi down U.S. Highway 63 when it should have taken it on the outskirts of the city, Keith said.

The semi load was too wide to make it under the Eisenhower Pedestrian Bridge, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Keith said she will get permission from the City Council within the next month or so to move forward with the claims and lawsuit.

“We had an engineer look at the bridge to determine the estimated cost of repair, which he said was $172,000,” Keith said. “Then we let bids and they came back at $160,000, which was under our projected cost.”

But one of the insurance companies only offered the city $44,000 for repairs.

“We’ll just have to proceed with the courts, present our case and hopefully they’ll see it our way and grant us a reasonable amount for the repairs,” Keith said.

But whether or not the city files a lawsuit, Keith said the project needs to get done, as it’s slated for a mid-July start date.

“It’s a safety issue for our children crossing that highway to get to school,” Keith said. “We can’t wait for an insurance company to offer a settlement. We’ve got to get it fixed.”

The council will vote to approve the contract, bond and certificate of insurance for the project with Iowa Bridge Culvert LC, of Washington.

The project will be funded with fiscal year 2013 CIP funds.

To date, the project has totaled nearly $200,000, which includes the bid amount of more than $160,000, Calhoun-Burns design, detailing, plan development and inspector for $35,200, and a special inspection for around $3,500.

Effluent water system improvements

The council will also vote to award the contract for the Water Pollution Control Facility’s (WPCF) effluent water system improvements to Story Construction, of Ames, for $113,650.

The project consists of replacing an existing outdated and undersized effluent water system. An effluent water system, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is “wastewater, treated or untreated, that flows out of a treatment plant, sewer, or industrial point source, such as a pipe. Generally refers to wastes discharged into surface waters.”

In order to be more cost-effective, the WPCF uses its own clean effluent water for a wide range of uses throughout the treatment plant.

But the current effluent water system is no longer able to provide for WPCF’s needs within the plant and even more so with the addition of the new headwork’s equipment. The new headwork’s facility uses somewhere between 500,000 to 1 million gallons of city water per month.

Currently the city is charged for water usage over 600,000 gallons at the treatment plant. A side benefit from this project is that it will free up around 600,000 gallons of potable water production at the Ottumwa Water Works plant and either reduce future expansion needs or reduce operating expenses.

This project was approved under the 2011-12 budget for $125,000. The city has already purchased the equipment and this will finish the installation of the project.

Bike racks

The council will vote to accept the donation of three bike racks for Ottumwa Transit.

The donation was made possible by the Community Transformation Grants program through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Wapello County Public Health.

The funding is designated to make mobility accessible and encourage physical activity.

Ottumwa Transit’s goal is to secure bike racks for nine buses within the system. Optimally, all nine racks will be attached to the buses at the same time.

Lynelle Diers, clinical director of Wapello County Public Health, and Joni Elder, Community Transformation Grants program director, were instrumental in making this donation of $3,837 for the purchase of the three racks.

Also on the council’s agenda:

• The council will vote to approve $271,410 as additional match for the Economic Development Administration Grant for infrastructure improvements required for industrial development at the Ottumwa Regional Airport.

The council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at City Hall. The meeting will air live on GO-TV, cable channel 6.

There will also be an informational meeting about the next phase of the South Ottumwa Sewer Separation Project at 6 p.m. Monday in the Evans Middle School library. Attendees are asked to enter on the west side of Evans from the parking lot and go all the way down the hall to the library. The meeting will not be broadcast.

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