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A mechanical contractor is questioning the latest bidding process to replace lead service lines in Flint, Mich.
City officials opened bidding for the fourth phase of its FAST Start lead line replacement program last January with a deadline of Feb. 2, but have since reopened the process and pushed back the deadline to March 1.
Officials say the bids received so far are too high – a complaint raised last year during the second phase of the city’s FAST Start replacement program.
In the meantime, representatives from Goyette Mechanical say that its initial bid made prior to the deadline extension has been revealed, giving competitors the opportunity to undercut the price.
Goyette was one of the companies chosen to work on the second and third phases of the Fast Start program.
Under the Fast Start program, there are plans to complete Flint's infrastructure replacement over the next three years by replacing lead-tainted pipes at an estimated 6,000 houses per year.
So far, officials say there are about 20,000 homes that still need service lines replaced.
Last year, an estimated 800 homes had lines replaced under Mayor Karen Weavers Fast Start program, which launched in March 2016.
From March to April 2016, service lines were replaced at 33 homes under the program's first phase. During phase two, which launched in July, contractors replaced service lines at 250 homes. The rest of the homes had service lines replaced under the program's third phase.
The fourth phase is expected to start in mid- to late-March.
The program's first phase was funded by a $500,000 contract between the state and Rowe Engineering. City officials used $2 million that the state repaid Flint for connecting to Detroit's water system in 2015 for the second phase.
For the third phase, officials tapped into $25 million approved by the Michigan Legislature June 2016 that was allocated for replacing Flint lead-tainted pipes.
More details here.