BEATRICE – The City of Beatrice recently received a half-dozen bids for a water distribution line project that will provide some backup, from the city’s well fields northwest of the community.

Mayor Stan Wirth says the lowest bid came in about a half-million dollars under the engineering estimate for the project.

"Right now, we only have one line coming into the city of Beatrice from the city's wellfields. We felt it necessary, and the timing was right because of the availability of these funds, to go ahead and put another line together. The engineer's estimate was $2.8 million...the low bid came in at $2.3 million...and I think the high bid was $3.1 million. That work could conceivably start yet this a matter of fact I think the contractor wants to start this fall. It will take about a year to complete."

The land where the line will be installed was purchased with the help of a state loan through the Nebraska Department of the Environment and Energy. The $7.3 million loan, at no interest cost, will allow the city to accomplish some major water system upgrades.

The loan helped the city’s water department with upgraded generators for the city’s pumping system. Wirth says the funding will also aid the city in replacing some very old water mains in the downtown area.

"Fourth Street to Sixteenth that will be a major project. But, we have discussed with the water department to do a (horizontal) boring underneath the street, as opposed to tearing up the street. That will allow traffic to flow as smoothly as possible."

This week, city water department crews were in the final stages of completing a water main replacement project on 18th Street…doing connections to fire hydrants and individual service lines…then flushing the lines and doing bacteria tests before the new main is put in service.