The county Water Authority may rebid pipeline construction work in two areas where contractor The Delaney Group of Mayfield has stopped most work it was doing and sued the authority.
The authority board went behind closed doors Thursday to discuss the possibility of rebidding about 4 miles of pipe installation that Delaney, a heavy construction contractor, hasn’t done.
Delaney, which has two contracts with the authority totaling $10.3 million, walked off of the jobs in September. It filed lawsuits against the authority claiming that it wasn’t being paid promptly. The authority has defended itself and countersued.
While the sides remain in court and Delaney has returned to do some related work on one contract, the authority is now considering whether to rebid to get the jobs going again.
“I really don’t know what we’re going to do,” Authority Chairman John E. Lawler, R-Waterford, said. The authority went into an executive session on the matter at a meeting in Ballston Spa.
The Delaney contracts are for two parts of the 28-mile pipeline between the county water treatment plant on the Hudson River in Moreau and the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta and Stillwater.
The $67 million project is an integral part of the infrastructure needed for the planned Advanced Micro Devices computer chip plant in Luther Forest, and any significant delay beyond late 2009 in completing the water line would bring significant pressure on the authority.
The work on a Delaney contract in the Ballston Spa area is about 85 percent done, and the company has returned in recent weeks to do unfinished paving and safety work. However, engineers said about 2,700 feet of pipe still needs to be installed.
Delaney also had a contract for about 4 miles of pipe in the Greenfield area, said Ed Vopelak, a vice president with C.T. Male Associates, one of the authority’s consulting engineers. He said about a quarter of that pipe is installed.
How long it would take to finish the work, or how much more it might cost the authority today, is unclear. But it would be more: Delaney’s bid prices were submitted to the county in 2006, and the cost of steel pipe and other materials has risen since then.
But the county’s engineers have repeatedly said the pipeline work can be done relatively quickly and any delays in completing the overall project are more likely to stem from construction of the water treatment plant in Moreau.
Vopelak said the three pipeline sections being done by other contractors are moving along well or even nearing completion.
Also Thursday, financial consultant Richard McCarthy told the authority that it saved as much as $18 million to $36 million in interest payments by getting its $40 million in Wall Street borrowing done on Sept. 18, the week before the worldwide market collapse.
The authority was able to borrow for 40 years at a 4.9 percent interest rate, McCarthy said.
Another week’s delay would have had a different result, he said.
“I don’t know if I would have been able to sell the bonds,” McCarthy said. “If we had, it would have been a lot more expensive.”
“It was a good piece of work to get that done,” acknowledged Lawler, who attended the New York City bond closing that lasted into the evening, even as participants realized that markets around the world were dropping.
The $40 million in bond proceeds, along with $30 million in state grants, are paying for construction of the new water system.
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