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Moving, protecting pipes from I-85/Ga. 316 construction to cost $5M

LAWRENCEVILLE - Two decisions to save and move county water and sewer pipes displaced by the largest single state road project in history will cost the county nearly $7 million.

But the county is saving $2.2 million after negotiating with a contractor, public utilities officials said.

Commissioners OK'd a contract for $5,016,874 with John D. Stephens Inc. to move the water and sewer pipes located parallel to Interstate 85 near Pleasant Hill Road.

Because state crews are working on a $150 million project to rearrange the interstate's interchange with Ga. Highway 316, the pipes have to be moved out of the way. Last week, the Gwinnett Daily Post reported that the county is condemning land in order to relay the pipes out of construction zone.

According to Public Utilities Director Frank Stephens, the contractor was the only company to submit a bid to do the work. That bid was about $7.22 million, but the county negotiated to bring the price down.

Stephens said the two sides discussed ways to perform the construction that would be cheaper. An engineering estimate put the price of the work at $4.97 million.

Also Tuesday, commissioners agreed to pay state crews $1.9 million to build platforms to protect a sewer force main pipe that runs perpendicular to the interstate.

The platforms are expected to bear a load of 5,000 to 7,000 tons of dirt that will be used in the construction process.

Stephens said the platform option is cheaper than moving the major sewer line.