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Heber leaders modify water and sewer line replacement project due to nearly $11M budget shortfall

Construction crews are working on a major sewer and water replacement project throughout
Heber City
Construction crews are working on a major sewer and water replacement project throughout Heber City.

Heber City is in the third year of a massive project to replace its aging water and sewer infrastructure, but part of the project will have to wait due to inflation.

Since 2022, the city has been working to replace pipes that are more than 70 years old in some sections.

But inflation pressures mean that the total cost of updating the lines on the city’s east side has soared almost $11 million since the project began. That raises the price tag well above the $43 million budgeted for the work.

The Heber City Council met Tuesday, July 2, to vote on how to respond to the $10.8 million budget shortfall and approve a new construction contract.

City engineer Russ Funk has been working on possible solutions with the contractors for two months. He presented three options to the council: to complete as much as possible with the original budget, to modify the project’s scope and spend about $2.3 million more than planned, or to find the money for the entire project.

He recommended the intermediate option to avoid delaying some of the more needed repairs.

“If we wanted to just do the absolute minimum, $43 million, basically we will eliminate 400 North and the connecting blocks in between,” he said. “Reason this 400 North is so important is because of how the project’s been designed. That is the main sewer.”

Councilmember Aaron Cheatwood asked about potential risks or higher future expenses if the city doesn’t finish the repairs now.

“Is there substantial or outsized risk of the lines that are in 300 North, 200 North and those intersecting lines right now, is there any higher risk than there was for the rest of the project?” he asked.

Funk said the pipes do need to be replaced but aren’t at higher risk than anywhere else. He said the most critical infrastructure repairs have already been made.

The city council approved the modified plan for the current phase of construction. To cover the $2.3 million difference in cost, councilmembers reallocated funds from elsewhere in the budget and from water and sewer fund surpluses. This phase of work will now cost a total of $9.8 million.

Water and sewer replacements on 200 and 300 North have been put on hold for now. No timeline was set for budgeting or completing the delayed work.

Funk estimates the modified construction project will be complete by July 2025.

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