City approves bid for major sewer and water project, construction set to begin soon

As soon as this week a significant sewer and water project could begin, according to city officials. If it does, it will cause some impacts to local traffic.

At its regular meeting on May 9, the Winnemucca City Council awarded a bid to Hunewill Construction for the construction of new sewer and water lines from Sixth Street to Second Street with all members present. 

“Construction is expected to start very soon.  We do not have an exact date, but it could be as early as next week,” Winnemucca City Manager Alicia Heiser in an email on May 10. 

The project has been in the works for quite some time as the Council has had multiple discussions regarding the scope and demand for the project. 

“The new water and sewer mains will replace older smaller lines. This will provide increased capacity for future growth and will reduce the amount of maintenance that would be required with the older infrastructure,” explained Hesier.

The project will coincide with a repaving project the Nevada Department of Transportation will also be doing from Grass Valley Road to Winnemucca Boulevard and must be concluded by July 31 in order for NDOT to begin pavement resurfacing, which will consist of a 3" mill and overlay, according to Heiser. 

“There will be some significant traffic disruptions on Hanson Street. I anticipate there will be some full and partial closures of Hanson Street throughout the project,” said Heiser.

City officials said that NDOT must approve Hunewill’s traffic control plan before they can start the project, hopefully as soon as possible, which includes closing one block at a time so that flaggers are not necessary. 

According to City Attorney Kent Maher, the bid from Hunewill was higher than anticipated by engineers, but Hunewill is anticipating a difficult project and included over-time compensation in the bid. 

“The project is never going to get easier and it’s never going to get any less expensive,” said City Manager Alicia Heiser during the Council meeting. 

NDOT officials were not available for comment regarding the project before press time. 

In other City Council news:

• In a split vote (with Councilwoman Pam Coats in opposition), the Council approved a proposal for City-provided health insurance plans for the fiscal year 2023 to 2024 to employees. 

According to City officials, there will be no impact to City employees, but the way that insurance claims are paid out will change. 

Councilwoman Coats expressed concern regarding a catastrophic event since the City insures first responders and how that may impact the City and payouts. 

City Manager Alicia Heiser explained that a cap is placed on the monetary amount for claims that the City is responsible for, safeguarding against instances of major disastrous events and that city-provided insurance has potential cost savings. 

• A public hearing was held in order to adopt an ordinance that will increase certain animal control fees in order to meet the needs of the dogs and was approved by the Council.  

Winnemucca Police Chief Mike Rangel explained that adoption fees will not be increasing in order to encourage adoptions, but fees for impounding dogs, boarding and disposing of dogs, surrendering dogs, and quarantine will be increased to reflect the current costs of foods and other necessities. 

City Attorney Kent Maher said that the fees have not been increased since 2009.

• A zone change request was set to public hearing by the Council for a property located at the end of Ranch Hand Road & Packsaddle Road, changing the property from a Single Family Residential 6,000/7,500 square foot minimum lot size to a Multi-Family Residential. 

• A zone change request was set to public hearing by the Council for a property located at 3135 North Highland Drive to change the zoning from Estates to Multi-Family Residential. 

• A zone change request was set to public hearing by the Council for a property located at 1235 Melarkey Street changing the zoning from a Single Family Residential 6,000 square foot minimum lot size to a Multi-Family Residential. 

• The Council approved a street closure request, from Winnemucca Boulevard from the Model T entrance to 504 E. Second Street, for the Basque Parade on June 10 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

• A request for a permanent easement in the City’s alley near Hanson Street was approved. City officials explained that the easement will allow for construction of a new retaining wall in the northeast corner of the NDOT maintenance yard which will not encroach any access but will extend slightly into the alley. 

• Another public hearing was held in order to adopt an ordinance for an annexation request, which was approved by the Council. 

The property annexation into the City is for a truck stop development across from the Loves Travel Stop, according to City officials. 

• The Council approved a five-year contract extension with Delong Construction for landfill services. 

• The Council approved a Capital Improvement Plan Proposal for the Winnemucca Municipal Airport, allowing for it to be submitted to the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA). 

• May was declared Historic Preservation Month by the Council.